Three players who faced Greenbrier High School in the state baseball playoffs were selected in the 2007 Major League Baseball draft. Everyone knew Woodland left-hander Nathan Vineyard would be selected fairly early on day one of the draft. It was no surprise, then, that the Mets made him the 47th player taken overall (supplemental round, between first and second rounds). Greenbrier pounded out 10 hits (including two homers) and 6 runs off Vining in Game one of the State Quarterfinals.
Thomas County Central third baseman and pitcher Austin Taylor was also selected. He went to the Cincinnati Reds in the 43rd round. Taylor had one hit in Greenbrier's two-game sweep over Thomas County Central. (Greenbrier held TCC to just two hits in the two games).
And Heritage shortstop and pitcher Taylor Whitendon, whom the 'Pack defeated 10-3 in Game One of the Championship Series, was chosen by the Braves in the 40th round.
Two more players the 'Pack faced early in the season also were chosen. The Braves took Cartersville slugger Lyle Allen in the 22nd round. He homered in Cartersville's 5-2 win over the 'Pack back in March. Russell County (Ala.) pitcher Danny Danielson was taken in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Belcher continuing county tradition
Greenbrier Lefty Nolan Belcher has spent the past week or so in Oklahoma playing for Team Georgia in the prestigious Sunbelt Classic Baseball Tournament. The event features teams from Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, California, Missouri, Arizona and Canada.
Georgia has had a great deal of success throughout the event's history. Belcher is now part of an elite group of players from Columbia County to have played for Team Georgia since the program started in 1990. Belcher is playing for the Junior Team, which began in 1999.
During the past 18 years, 19 county players have suited up for Team Georgia. Three players, Jamal Jones and B.J. Long of Evans and Parker Dye of Lakeside were part of Team Georgia in consecutive seasons. Jones played for Junior Team Georgia in 1999 before moving up to the Senior Team in 2000, while Long is one of only five players to play for the Senior Team twice (1998-99). Just to show you the type of talent Team Georgia has fielded in the past, here are a few Team Georgia alumni:
Adam Everett (1995) Houston Astros
J.D. Drew (1994) Boston Red Sox
John Rocker (1993) former Atlanta Brave
Brian McCann (2001) Atlanta Braves
Jeff Francoeur (2001) Atlanta Braves
The very first Columbia County player to earn a spot on Team Georgia was current Greenbrier head coach Rodney Holder.
Holder was on the 1991 team after a prep career that included three state titles. The list of Columbia County players to play for Team Georgia is a who's who of the best players to ever wear spikes in the county.
1991 - Rodney Holder (Evans / Georgia College and State University)
1992 - Mark Hamlin (Evans / Georgia Southern / Colorado Rockies)
1993 - Chris Hall (Evans / UGA)
1994 - Grady Blanchard (Evans / Georgia Southern / ASU)
Dino Dakuras (Lakeside / USC Aiken)
1997 - Mark Smith (Greenbrier / JUCO)
1998 - Rico Bravo (Lakeside/ South Carolina)
B.J. Long (Evans / San Diego Padres)
1999 - B.J. Long (Evans / San Diego Padres)
2000 - Jamal Jones (Evans / Texas Rangers)
2002 - Parker Dye (Lakeside / Young Harris)
Junior Team Georgia
1999 - Jamal Jones (Evans / Texas Rangers)
J.J. Johnson (Greenbrier / Chicago Cubs)
2000 - Bradley Key (Greenbrier / Cincinnati Reds)
2001 - Parker Dye (Lakeside / Young Harris)
2003 - Scott Wandless (Greenbrier / USC-Aiken)
2005 - Shawn Ward (Evans / Drafted by Seattle)
Rich Poythress (Greenbrier / UGA)
2006 - Brandon Cumpton (Greenbrier / Georgia Tech)
Jeff Rowland (Greenbrier / Georgia Tech)
2007 - Nolan Belcher (Greenbrier / Undecided)
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