Baseball season is almost upon us. Practice for Georgia high school teams starts Monday.
Every sport's season seems to sneak up on me throughout the year.
Baseball is different. Baseball signals the coming of greenery, warm weather and, as it always has been in this county, competitive high school ball.
Evans kicks off the season in less than a month at rival Greenbrier. Harlem starts the same day, playing host to Thomson.
First-year Grovetown's introduction to county baseball competition will come March 5 at Lakeside.
The county's seniors should provide some compelling entertainment. Four from Greenbrier signed letters of intent during the fall.
Shortstop Ben Morgan is headed to Georgia Southern, Chad Farmer to Appalachian State, Shawn McCain to Western Carolina and Sam Daniel to USC Aiken.
Three signed from Lakeside -- Clayton Miller to Armstrong Atlantic, Jeffrey Stoner to Francis Marion and Zach Hayden to Middle Georgia.
Harlem's Derek Beasley will play at USC Aiken and fellow Bulldogs senior Jay Aplin will take his game to Shorter College.
A quick primer on what went down in 2009:
Evans and Lakeside reached the Class AAAA quarterfinals. The Knights fell to Loganville and Lakeside to Marist.
The Panthers' run, in coach T.J. Davis's first season, included the Region 3-AAAA title.
Harlem dropped its first-round Class AAAA playoff series to Alcovy. Greenbrier won its first-round series with Valdosta before falling to East Coweta.
New faces in the dugout this season will be coaches Mike Jones at Grovetown and Jack Hook at Augusta Christian.
Jones came from Greenbrier to start the Warriors' first program, and Hook takes over for former Lions coach Craig Johnson.
Among the biggest news from last year's crop of seniors is this: former Evans shortstop Kevin Caughman is on the roster at Clemson University.
Knights coach Ricky Beale also sent middle infielder Jeff Rice to Mercer University.
Area swimmers recognize Van Pelt
Area swim teams met Thursday for the Columbia County championships.
The meet served as senior recognition night, and the first recognized was Greenbrier's Haley Van Pelt.
Van Pelt was seriously injured in a car crash in July 2009. She now receives therapy at home and recently was admitted to the Walton Rehabilitation Hospital's outpatient center.
Van Pelt was a member of Greenbrier's swim team and band.
Swimmers wore temporary tattoos bearing Van Pelt's initials.
Information and updates on Van Pelt's condition can be found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/prayersforhaley.
Coverage of Thursday's event can be found in this Wednesday's News-Times .
Evans Middle keeps winning
Evans Middle started its athletic year strong, finishing with Lakeside as the only undefeated programs in the area.
The Knights basketball teams were recently recognized for their seasons.
Both Evans Middle's boys and girls finished undefeated.
Evans coaches believe the feat -- finishing undefeated in football, boys basketball and girls basketball the same school year -- to be a first at the middle school level in the county.
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