Former Greenbrier High School star Rich Poythress has been dubbed a star since he hit .750 as an eighth-grader at Columbia Middle School.
He was simply a man among boys back then. He wasted little time earning a starting spot on the varsity team his freshman year at Greenbrier.
He proceeded to have one of the finest prep careers in county history.
In Poythress' junior season he hit .588 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI.
As a senior he helped spearhead Greenbrier's 35-1 state championship season.
Poythress signed to play at Georgia and despite tearing his ACL in the fall, he went through surgery and battled his way to a starting position by March.
This summer Poythress did what thousands of college ball players do: He played in one of about 18 major college summer leagues around the country. Poythress dominated pitchers in the Coastal Plains League.
He was far and away the best hitter in the Southeast's premier college summer league.
Playing for the Thomasville Hi-Toms, Poythress led the league in slugging percentage (.616), walks (42) and RBI (49). He also finished second in the league in home runs (13) and on-base percentage (.450).
It appears his hard work has paid off. Recently Baseball America ranked the top 10 Major League prospects from each of the 18 college summer leagues. Coming in as the No. 2 prospect in the Coastal Plains League was Rich Poythress.
The publication hailed the 6-4, 238 lb. Poythress for his power to all fields and his ability to hit with two strikes.
They also called him "surprisingly athletic" for his size and felt he had a terrific "approach at the plate."
Although he has played both corner positions in the infield, the writers at Baseball America said he will be a first baseman as he moves to professional baseball.
Poythress's lone setback this summer came in his final game.
He took a pitch right between the eyes.
Despite suffering a broken nose, Poythress stayed in the game. So apparently he is pretty tough, too.
ECU hangs in there with Virginia Tech
Former Evans and Lakeside wide receiver Steven Rogers played on as big a stage as anyone in the history of Columbia County on Sept. 1.
Rogers, now a starting wide out for East Carolina, was in Blacksburg, Va. as ECU squared off with Virginia Tech.
This, of course, was the first game in Blacksburg since the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech.
Despite the Hokies' obvious emotional high, ECU gave them a battle. The Pirates fell 17-7.
Rogers had a solid effort for the Pirates, hauling in three passes for 17 yards and returning two punts for eight yards.
The numbers are not eye-popping, but it is good to see Rogers getting so much playing time at the highest level of college football.
Blast from the past
Next Saturday, Sept. 15 Harvard opens their 2007 football season with an Ivy League match-up at Holy Cross. Wearing No. 39 for the Crimson will be former Evans standout Cheng Ho.
Ho, now a sophomore, will see plenty of action this season as a running back. The 5-11, 190-pound speedster was second on the team in rushing last season gaining 152 yards on 31 carries (4.7 yards per carry) in nine games. He also caught two passes for 29 yards.
With leading rusher Clifton Dawson (more than 1,200 yards in 2006) having graduated, Ho should have a big role in the Crimson's offense this fall.
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