Name a big Lakeside baseball game within the past two years and, chances are, J.C. Huffman played a big role in that game.
The recent Lakeside graduate and baseball star will move on to the next level after finishing a strong high school baseball career. Huffman signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to play baseball at Middle Georgia College.
"I always felt like I had a spot somewhere at the next level," Huffman said. "I had a couple of other juco (junior college) offers. I looked at USC Aiken and Augusta State, but all I've heard is good stuff about Middle Georgia."
Huffman became the fifth Lakeside baseball player in the past three years to sign a college commitment. Lakeside baseball coach Jay Matthews said the starting infielder and pitcher will be missed.
"This was my third year there, and ever since I took over, he's hit in the middle of our lineup," Matthews said. "He's been synonymous with Lakeside baseball."
Huffman was part of the team in 2006, when Lakeside made an unlikely region tournament push to earn a state playoff bid. Then a junior pitcher, he shut out top-seeded Statesboro in the first round of the region tournament. This past year, he helped the Panthers sweep region rival Evans in regular-season play.
"He's the guy other teams knew about and planned for," Matthews said. "Our team rallied around J.C., and I think they felt more confident with him at the plate or on the mound."
Huffman said he'll most likely retire from the pitching mound and will instead concentrate on hitting and playing as a corner infielder at Middle Georgia. He's healing from an injury suffered while playing for the Savannah Chain traveling baseball team this summer.
"It was at the Perfect Game World Series. I took a 90 mph fastball to the hand," he said. His hand is wrapped in a cast. "It only broke one bone, but I've been in this thing for a week, and I'll be in it for at least two more."
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