Over the last few weeks, I've been updating readers on some of Columbia County's baseball players who are now on the diamonds at various colleges around the South.
Since the local high school softball programs switched from slow- to fast-pitch in 1997, our prep teams have produced loads of talented softball stars.
With many of those girls now at the college level, it's time to give them their due.
In Milledgeville, the Georgia College & State University Lady Bobcats are off to a hot start this season. The team raced to a 5-0 record in 2004, and three Columbia County players have helped fuel that early run.
Sophomore Heather Jones, who plays first base and third base, returns as a starter after a tremendous freshman campaign last year. The Evans High School product earned second team all-region honors in 2003, when she hit .307 and drove in 33 runs.
Jones also displayed some power by finishing second on the team in home runs (nine) and doubles (11). The right-handed slugger capped her freshman season at GC&SU by making the all-tournament team at the NCAA Regionals, where she hit .500 with a double and a home run.
Through the first five games this season, Jones was hitting .333 with a double and five RBIs.
This year, Jones has reunited with one of her former teammates at Evans.
Anna Cheely is a freshman with the Lady Bobcats this season, and she is making a great first impression in Milledgeville. The infielder already has earned two starts, and she is hitting .375 with an on-base percentage of .444.
Greenbrier High School is also represented on the diamond at GC&SU. Former Lady Wolfpack standout Nikki Smith was a four-year starter in high school, and was a four-time all-region third baseman for Greenbrier.
Smith is off to a slow start for the Lady Bobcats. She went hitless in her two starts, although she did score a couple of runs.
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