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Athlete Spotlight

Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Blake Ross is a busy guy.


This week's Athlete Spotlight is on Blake Ross.

In a 24-hour period between June 15-16, Ross got a win in the Martinez-Evans Major League Championship, attended a basketball camp and had his first practice with the MELL National League All-Star team.

Ross will add even more to his plate this month when he attends Clemson baseball camp. He also will compete with an all-star team that dreams of competing in Little League World Series. The Series, which takes place in Williamsport, Pa., is probably the most famous youth sports championship in America.

"He is definitely a busy kid," said his mother Liz Ross.

The 12-year-old led the Cardinals to undefeated season during league play in 2004.

Ross pitched 75 innings and, remarkably, only yielded two earned runs.

"We had a good season and won the title," Ross said. "Winning the championship was all that mattered."

Although he excelled as a pitcher, Ross was no slouch at the plate.

His seven home runs were the second highest total of the team. The Braves considered Ross dangerous enough to intentionally walk him with runners already in scoring position during the league title game.

Maybe the walk was justified because Ross saved his best stuff for the biggest games.

In the MELL title game, Ross struck out 11 in six innings and hit a three-run home run that put the Cardinals in the lead for good.

"Blake knows how to perform when the spotlight is on him," said Cardinals' coach Tommy Starnes. "He is a special player."

Starnes has been coaching Ross on the MELL National League All-Star team that competed in the Georgia State Championship last weekend.

The All Stars already walked through the sub-district and district tournaments without a loss. Winning the state tournament would put the MELL team in the Southeast regional in Tampa.

Regional winners advance to the Little League World Series.

This fall Ross will enter seventh grade at Riverside Middle.

He played baseball last season for the Eagles, but wasn't allowed to pitch because the team barred sixth graders from taking the mound, his father Mark said.

"I think they will let him pitch this year, though," Mark said with a smile.


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