It's hard to believe that the high school baseball season is already underway. The 2002-03 campaigns are flying by in prep sports.
As we make the transition from the hardwood to the diamond, here are a couple of observations to ponder.
Region 3-AAAA is a bear.
I've been telling people all season how good Region 3-AAAA teams are in basketball. Now I've got the proof.
Squads are gearing up this week for Georgia High School Association Final Four action, and of the eight Class AAAA teams (girls and boys combined) in the state basketball playoff semifinals, three hail from Region 3-AAAA.
The Glenn Hills and Hephzibah girls teams are still battling for the state championship, which wasn't unexpected. The two Richmond County rivals met in the Class AAAA state title game last year.
However, in the boys bracket, it is a bit of a surprise to see Statesboro in the state semifinals. The Blue Devils didn't even make it to the Region 3-AAAA title game, but they have advanced to the Final Four.
The success of those teams says a lot about the uphill battle Greenbrier and Lakeside faced while competing in Region 3-AAAA last season.
Keep eye on Greene
He probably won't earn the job as everyday catcher for the Texas Rangers, but with his production off the bench late last season, plus the fact that Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez has signed with Florida, things are looking good for Todd Greene this spring.
Greene, a former Evans High School baseball star, should get plenty of playing time for Texas this season.
The Rangers plan to use Greene in multiple positions (catcher, first base, outfield and designated hitter), so 400 to 450 at-bats is not out of the question for the right-handed slugger.
In the off-season, Texas gave Greene a vote of confidence, which came in the form of a $750,000 contract.
Of the catchers on the Texas roster, only Greene and Einar Diaz have major league experience, although the Rangers are grooming a young catching prospect.
Greene's versatility should allow him to play three or four games a week during the upcoming Major League season.
If that is the case, expect career highs for Greene in home runs and RBI. With enough trips to the plate, he should have a shot at 20 to 25 homers (his career high is 14).
Finally, after battling all the injuries and critics, Greene will have an opportunity to show everyone many people in Columbia County already know - this guy can flat-out hit a baseball.
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