Last week, I mentioned that former Greenbrier High School standout T.D. Davis had homered in his first college at-bat. Not to be outdone, former Harlem star Patrick Gamblin repeated the feat in his first plate appearance for Division I Winthrop.
Gamblin was sensational in Winthrop's opening weekend sweep in which the team knocked off Northwestern (8-4), George Mason (11-4) and Marist (19-4). In the three games, Gamblin hit .500, going 3 for 6 with two doubles, a home run, and four RBI. He also worked 2/3 of an inning on the mound, striking out one and not allowing a base runner. Congratulations to Patrick on his terrific start.
Here is a look at how a few other county products have opened their seasons:
Sean Harrell (Lakeside, Georgia College and State University); Shawn Ward (Evans, GCSU):
Harrell and Ward make up 2/3 of the starting outfield for nationally ranked GCSU. The Bobcats are 4-4 on the season after a rather shaky start.
Former Lakeside standout Harrell is a major reason GCSU has gotten its act together. The speedy outfielder is leading the team with a .457 batting average, going 16 for 35 with 11 runs scored, two doubles and a pair of stolen bases.
Harrell, a senior, is one of the premier outfielders in a loaded Peach Belt Conference.
Ward was a four-year starter for the Knights and was drafted by the Seattle Mariners following his senior season. He has spent the past two years at Middle Georgia Junior College, where he became one of the top JUCO outfielders.
Last season, Ward hit 13 homers and drove in 68 runs to lead Middle Georgia. He was named All-Conference and picked up a Conference Gold Glove Award.
Nolan Belcher (Greenbrier, University of South Carolina):
Belcher had a solid freshman campaign for the Gamecocks. He was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team and had several lights-out starts in SEC play.
This season, Gamecocks head coach Ray Tanner moved Belcher to the bullpen. South Carolina opened its season with a three-game sweep of Duquesne last weekend (10-3, 13-3, 5-3). The former Greenbrier phenom made one appearance and made the most of it. He allowed one hit, no runs, did not walk a batter, and struck out four.
Jeff Rowland and Brandon Cumpton (Greenbrier, Georgia Tech):
There are very high expectations for these two talented players. Rowland was drafted last season in the 21st round by the Cleveland Indians as a draft-eligible sophomore. He is coming off two terrific seasons for the Yellow Jackets. He has a career batting average of .338 and has scored 113 runs in just 111 starts for Georgia Tech. The outfielder hit .286 in Tech's opening weekend sweep of Missouri State (4-0, 20-3, 13-0). He had two triples, one homer, and four RBI.
Cumpton is getting plenty of attention from pro scouts. The right-hander has a career record of 6-4 and opens 2010 in the starting rotation. In his first outing of the season he earned the win, allowing seven hits and two runs in five innings of work.
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