Before the start of the high school baseball season, I compiled a list of the top seven players in Columbia County. I also added a "player to watch" to make the list total eight players.
Though all of the eight have been solid this season, several players left off the list have stepped up their game this spring. Here is a look at the "Next 7," which would make a Fab 15 for 2007.
Mike Sanders (Harlem)
The Bulldogs ace was probably No. 9 on my preseason list. He may not overpower hitters, but he hits his spots and he gets the job done.
Mike Leverett (Harlem)
Leverett has been one of the areas top power hitters this season. He has six round-trippers, which is tops in Columbia County. He is a key reason Harlem got off to such a great start this spring.
Rodney Scruggs (Harlem)
Scruggs is one of the area's top two-way threats. He has been outstanding on the mound and equally effective at the plate. He will be a huge key for the Bulldogs playoff push.
Jeff Rice (Evans)
Rice has emerged as one of the Knights' top hitters in 2007.
He has been dubbed a great prospect for a while but has surprised many with his terrific start this season.
Like Sanders, Bourdo could have easily made the preseason list. The talented shortstop for the Lions hit .471 a year ago and has been solid again this year.
Patrick McGowan (Greenbrier)
McGowan has given Coach Holder a great third option on the mound. He has a sizzling ERA of 0.40. He has also handled the bat well.
Matt Zelgewicz (Lakeside)
He has been the ace for the Panthers this season. His efforts on the mound are a key reason the Panthers are the No. 2 seed in Region 3N-AAAA. Gutsy kid.
Columbia County is blessed with a ton of baseball talent, but this group (along with the preseason picks) has stood out in 2007.
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