Today is congratulations day for me. I'm giving plenty of well-deserved pats on the back to several current and former county athletes. I tried to cover everyone. From girl's basketball to Major League Baseball, there are plenty of good stories that should be brought to your attention.
Todd Greene: The former Evans slugger got some great news this past week.
He was one of five catchers the San Francisco Giants had in uniform during spring training. Mike Matheny was the definite starter, which meant the other four players were battling for one roster spot.
Greene, a former All-American at Georgia Southern, turns 35 in May and obviously did not want to have to begin the season in the minor leagues.
Well, he doesn't have to worry about that now. Giants manager Felipe Alou has announced that Greene would be on the Giants' opening-day roster. He praised the man who led Evans to back-to-back state championships for his professionalism, his ability to handle pitchers and his power at the plate.
It certainly did not hurt that the day before the announcment Greene threw out Dave Roberts attempting to steal. Roberts is widely considered one of the top base-stealers in the big leagues.
Michelle Swiec (Greenbrier): Swiec made history this season. The 5-foot-6 point guard, still a junior, was named to the First Team AAAA All-State Team. She is the first girls player from Columbia County to be named First Team All-State at any classification. And, of course, she still has another year to go.
Swiec led the Lady Wolfpack to the school's first Final Four appearance this season. Along the way, she poured in more than 17 points per game. She also paced Greenbrier in assists and steals.
Before her brilliant career is over, she will undoubtedly be the most highly decorated basketball player - male or female - to play in Columbia County.
Nick Wandless (Greenbrier): Wandless doubled up on the good news this past week.
The 6-foot-1 senior right-hander became the first Peach Belt conference pitcher to earn Pitcher of the Week honors for a second time this season.
He also became the conference's all-time saves leader by picking up save No. 24.
Wandless has been dominant for the Pacers in 2006. He has made 16 appearances for University of South Carolina Aiken and sports a record of 2-0 with a conference-best nine saves. Also, in 17.1 innings of work Wandless has struck out 23 batters while walking only one. As if that wasn't amazing enough, Wandless has held opposing batters to a .038 batting average and has yielded only two hits all season. Oh, and by the way, he has an ERA of 0.00.
The Pacers are 28-7, ranked No. 9 in the country and have won 10 consecutive games.
NOTE: Sunday's column about this week's Masters competitors incorrectly included two players, J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson, who are not in the field.
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