Rusty James went into every game against county rivals with something to prove.
Harlem's Rusty James signs a scholarship with Georgia Southwestern State as Principal Allen Griffin (from left), Doug James and coach Jimmie Lewis look on.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
It had to be that way, said the recently graduated Harlem High School shortstop, to show the other three schools that the Bulldogs belonged.
"Coach (Jimmie) Lewis told us to go out there every night and make the other schools respect us," said James. "We made sure we played like that every night."
He hopes that mentality will help him when he suits up for Georgia Southwestern State next spring.
James recently signed with the Americus school after finishing the season as the Bulldogs' top hitter. He hit .385 with 23 RBI and formed a great double-play combination with Mike Morris.
"We weren't the most talented team out there this year," said Morris. "We weren't the biggest, I think three guys hit home runs all season. But Rusty and me and the other seniors played as good as we could, and we were successful."
Harlem beat Evans and Lakeside this past season but is still searching for that elusive win over Greenbrier.
"We had a blast this season," said James. "We won some big games and made it to the second round of the playoffs and lost to the defending state champs (LaGrange). It was a great year."
James will head to Americus in mid-August to begin school but he said he has been working out trying to get ready for college baseball.
"The biggest thing I need to work on is strength," said the 6-foot-1, 155-pound shortstop. "I need to get bigger, faster and stronger."
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