Former Greenbrier High School star Rich Poythress and his University of Georgia teammates just completed a season they will never forget.
Unfortunately for Georgia, the Bulldogs' magical post-season run came up one win shy of the national title. Georgia lost to Fresno State 6-1 in the decisive third game of the best-of-three series.
While Fresno State certainly was this year's Cinderella, what the UGA squad did in 2008 should not be overlooked. Sure, UGA won the SEC regular-season title and came into the College World Series ranked sixth in the nation, but the Bulldogs won just 23 games in all of 2007.
The 23-33 mark in '07 was a huge disappointment for Georgia, and it gave the team plenty of motivation to work hard during the off-season to get better.
And the Bulldogs did just that. They improved as individuals, they came together as a team, and the results were tremendous.
Georgia nearly doubled its win total of 2007, posting a record of 45-25-1 and coming within one win of a second baseball national championship.
Individually, Poythress has plenty to be proud of. The four-time all-county performer who helped guide Greenbrier to the 2006 state championship was outstanding in 2008 for the Bulldogs.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound first baseman had a pretty good freshman campaign in 2007, but he emerged this season as one of the premier hitters in the SEC.
Poythress raised his batting average nearly 100 points, from .282 in 2007 to .374 this season. And his power numbers jumped at an amazing rate. Here is a quick look at how his numbers jumped in just one season:
- 2007: Batting average .282; three home runs; 24 RBI; nine doubles; .354 on-base percentage.
- 2008: Batting average .374; 15 home runs; 75 RBI; 22 doubles; .461 on-base percentage.
Also, his numbers were more than respectable in the best conference in college baseball.
Here is his rank in the Southeastern Conference:
- Batting: tied for fourth
- Home runs: tied for 12th
- RBI: fourth
- Doubles: tied for second
- On-base percentage: eighth
- Slugging percentage: ninth.
Congratulations to Rich and the Bulldogs on a tremendous year and exciting post-season run.
Vick sizzles in opening round at Bartram Trail
At press time, the second and final round of the Columbia County Junior Championship had yet to be played, but a performance during Round 1 deserves a mention.
As expected, there were some low scores at Bartram Trail in the opening round, but I was floored when I contacted the pro shop to find out who was leading after the first round. When I inquired about the lowest score of the day, I was asked in which age group. I replied that I wanted to know how the 16- to 18-year-olds performed, assuming that is where the top score was, anyway.
Well, the best score from the oldest age group was 2-under-par 70; an impressive score without a doubt, but it was nowhere near the best score. That came from 14-year-old Austin Vick (Greenbrier), who posted an amazing 7-under-par 65 to hold the overnight lead.
Vick was coming off a solid showing in the State Junior Championship last week at Augusta Country Club, but a 65? Wow!
He wasn't the only 15-year-old to go low. Cody Shafer (Lakeside) posted 68 in the opening round.
I will have a complete breakdown of the event Wednesday.
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