An off-season trade sent former Greenbrier star Bradley Key from the Cincinnati Reds organization to the Philadelphia Phillies. The 6-foot, 190-pound third baseman was assigned to the Phillies' Single A affiliate in Lakewood, N.J. The Blue Claws are the defending South Atlantic League champions.
Key got off to a slow start, but had a 3-for-3 night at West Virginia on April 12. So far this season, Key is hitting .267 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs in 15 at-bats.
Key had a sensational prep career for the Wolfpack. He was the first player in Columbia County to earn All-County honors all four seasons. He followed that up with a stellar collegiate career at the University of South Carolina Aiken.
In his three seasons with the Pacers, Key had a career batting average of .323 and finished first in school history in doubles (58) and second in RBIs (151).
In 2004, his junior season, Key hit .388 with 12 homers and 62 RBIs and led USC Aiken in eight offensive categories.
After the 2004 season, Key was selected in the 48th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Reds.
Key is playing with two of the most highly touted young players in baseball - shortstop Adrian Cardenas and right-handed pitcher Kyle Drabek.
Both were high school phenoms in 2006 and were high selections in the June MLB Amateur Draft.
Drabek, the son of former Pittsburgh Pirate Doug Drabek, was the 18th player picked in the first round, and Cardenas was taken with the 37th overall pick.
Key and his highly touted teammates visit Augusta in August when they square off with the GreenJackets for a four-game series Aug. 8-11.
Bulldogs could be tough in Class AAA playoffs
It seems Harlem often plays second fiddle in county sports.
Playing in a county with three Class AAAA schools, and the fact that Evans and Greenbrier have combined for nine state baseball titles since 1988, often leaves Harlem fans feeling slighted.
This season the Bulldogs have plenty to bark about. Coach Jimmie Lewis' squad features the county's breakout hitter in junior slugger Mike Leverett, and has solid pitching from the duo of Rodney Scruggs and Mike Sanders.
The Bulldogs, as always, played a brutally tough nonregion schedule squaring off with Evans, Greenbrier and Lakeside two times each.
Harlem posted a pair of early wins over Evans and Lakeside and has handled its region schedule despite solid foes such as Thomson and Washington County.
They've received no attention from the statewide polls, however.
Last weekend, Harlem dropped a pair of games to Greenbrier, but Bulldogs fans do not need to worry.
When the playoffs roll around, the Bulldogs might get the last laugh with a tough nonregion schedule.
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