Former Augusta Christian star Jordan Belcher has been promoted by the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Belcher joins the Reds Rookie League Team in Billings, Mont. One of Belcher's teammates will be Bradley Key.
Key, a former Greenbrier standout, and Belcher were teammates on a couple of great Columbia County Dixie Youth teams.
Belcher played in 38 games in the Gulf Coast League before the call-up, hitting .228 with three doubles, one homer, 13 RBIs and seven stolen bases, and he was among the team leaders with 18 runs scored.
The Reds feel like the 6-2, 185 pound Belcher, with time, can become a 30-homer guy.
His new teammate in Billings is off to a solid start to his professional career.
Key, who rode his monster junior season at USC-Aiken to a pro contract, is hitting .240, but he is among the team leaders in most offensive categories. He has five homers and he is second on the team with 39 RBIs.
The Reds claim Key has been one of the biggest surprises in their entire organization. He was a 48th round pick, but has been one of the premier players to come out of the 2004 draft thus far.
Coincidentally, this is not the first time that these two families have been linked by baseball.
Jordan's father Brian and Bradley's late father Wyman were teammates for 3 seasons at Augusta State. Belcher was a pitcher and Wyman served as his catcher.
It would be an incredible story if these two could one day be in Cincinnati together.
Is something in the water?
Before the season started, I pegged three players as the odds-on favorites for the 2004 Columbia County Player of the Year: Eugene Rogers (Greenbrier), Carl Burrow (Lakeside), and Cheng Ho (Evans).
While Ho has had one terrific game and one night to forget, the other two are currently out of commission.
Both Burrow and Rogers are on the mend with broken hands. Rogers hurt his hand in preseason practice and has missed two games already, and will likely miss at least one more game (Lincoln Co., Friday) Rogers could be back in time for the Evans game on Sept. 17.
Burrow's situation may be more up in the air.
It was basically a gametime decision in week two vs. Westside, but coach Randy Hill chose to hold Burrow out. Luckily the Panthers were able to pick up a big victory in triple overtime against Westside. At press time it appears Burrow will also miss the Panthers' first region game at Effingham County on Friday.
The Panthers may choose to hold him out Friday as well because they face a non-region opponent in Jefferson Co. If so, Burrow would also have a bye week on Sept. 17, and then he would be able to return completely healed for a head-to-head matchup with Rogers and Greenbrier on Sept. 24.
With two of the big guns out with injury, several players have been thrust forward as contenders for the Player of the Year award.
Lee Banks (QB/Augusta Christian) - He has been terrific in guiding the Lions to consecutive victories, and has helped ACS fans forget about star Adam McKinney.
Jimmy Johnson (QB/Lakeside) - After going 4-6 passing with a TD in the Panthers opener vs. Wash-Wilkes, Johnson struggled throwing the ball vs. Westside. But you can't measure his play statistically; he is a gamer and he willed the team to their triple-overtime win against Westside 28-26.
Cheng Ho (TB/Evans) - Ho went from nearly 150 yards and 3 TDs against Harlem, to just 13 yards in the Knights' week-two loss at the hands of Jefferson County.
Each of these three are in the running, but I also like several defensive players such as Lakeside's trio of Paul Miller, Reggie Porter and Blake Goolsby.
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