Columbia County fans once again had plenty to cheer during baseball season. Evans, Harlem, Greenbrier and Lakeside all advanced to the state playoffs, with Greenbrier, Harlem and Lakeside making it to round two. The Panthers went even further, making it all the way to the championship series in AAAA before falling to Marist.
It was the finest baseball season in school history, and it came on the heels of the football team posting their best season ever.
Several county players had banner campaigns, as evidenced by the number of area players earning scholarships. At press time, more than two dozen players have signed to play college ball, and the number of players that will play at the college level in 2011 could be closer to three dozen. That's an incredible number for a county our size.
Obviously, there are a few players who deserve some recognition for their exploits on the diamond this spring, so here is a look at the 2010 All-Columbia County Baseball Team.
Clayton Miller, catcher, Lakeside, Sr.: He was outstanding all year, but was particularly good in the postseason. For the season he hit .448 with 10 doubles, six homers, and 29 RBI.
Wil Hogan, first baseman, Lakeside, Sr.: Hit .372 with seven homers and 35 RBI. He was also solid on the mound for the Panthers, going 6-2 with a 3.73 ERA. Hogan signed with Andrews College in Cuthbert, Ga.
Ben Morgan, shortstop, Greenbrier, Sr.: He has signed with Georgia Southern. His combination of work ethic, good attitude and a love for the game make him a coach's dream. He hit .366 for the season and swiped 22 bases.
Ben Black, shortstop, Lakeside, Sr.: Black hit .398 with five homers and 30 RBI while going 4-3 on the mound. He also stole 10 bases and was second on the Panthers squad with 45 hits and third with 36 runs scored. He will play at USC Aiken.
Spencer Starnes, second baseman, Lakeside, Sr.: Was the table-setter and one of the catalysts for Lakeside's incredible season. He hit .421 and led the team in hits (48) and was second in runs scored (38).
Kody Belcher, center fielder, Lakeside, Jr.: Had a breakout season for the Panthers. He flashed plenty of glove in center field, enough so that people are comparing him to former Greenbrier great Jeff Rowland. He also hit .425 with six homers and 35 RBI. He led the Panthers in stolen bases (11) and runs scored (42). He will get plenty of attention from pro scouts next spring.
Blake Ross, center fielder, Greenbrier, Sr.: He had a monster season for the 'Pack. He hit .429 with a team best nine homers and 31 RBI. He was also tremendous with his glove in centerfield. He will play at the College of Charleston next season.
Zach Morris, center fielder, Harlem, Sr.: Was a team leader for the Bulldogs football team and that carried over to the diamond. He joins with Ross and Belcher to form arguably the best defensive outfield in the history of the All-County team.
He helped the Bulldogs make it to the second round of the state playoffs.
Jordan Rice, designated hitter, Evans, So.: Only a sophomore, but it is hard to argue with his numbers. He hit .463 with four homers and 27 RBI. He has a very bright future with the Knights.
Jeffrey Stoner, utility, Lakeside, Sr.: Stoner was tremendous all year for the Panthers. He led the team on the mound and at the plate. For the season he hit .337 with a team best eight homers and 42 RBI. He also was the team's ace on the mound, posting a 10-3 mark with a 2.45 ERA.
Derek Beasley, pitcher, Harlem, Sr.: Beasley was a workhorse on the mound for Jimmie Lewis and the Bulldogs this season. He also hit the ball well and will be a solid addition to the USC Aiken pitching staff next season.
Shawn McCain, pitcher, Greenbrier, Sr.: McCain entered 2010 known more for his bat than his arm, but that changed this spring. While he did hit the ball well for Greenbrier, he proved to be the team's ace on the hill. He posted a 9-0 mark with a 2.96 ERA and 81 strikeouts in just 56w innings. He will play at Western Carolina next season.
Chad Farmer, pitcher, Greenbrier, Sr.: The lefty is headed to Appalachian State next season and was only 6-4 on the mound, but he posted a 2.51 ERA and struck out 79 batters in just 44w innings of work.
Tyler Barden, catcher, Evans, Sr.: Hit .355 with seven doubles for the Knights. Barden has a big arm behind the plate, too.
Spencer Duffie, first baseman, Greenbrier, So.: Keep an eye on this rising star. Hit .443 with a pair of home runs and 26 RBI.
Glenn Cassedy, second baseman, Evans, Jr.: Cassedy hit .365 with eight doubles and two homers.
Jake Sandlin, second baseman, Greenbrier, Jr.: Sandlin is praised by his coach for his work ethic and it is paying off. Hit .355 with seven doubles and two home runs.
Tyler James, shortstop, Harlem, Sr.: Big time glove at shortstop. Team leader and tough competitor for the Bulldogs.
Jay Aplin, second baseman, Harlem, Sr.: Combined with Morris, James and catcher Taylor Camp to form an extremely solid defense up the middle for the Bulldogs. Will play at Shorter next season.
Jamal Cummings, center fielder, Grovetown, Fr.: Hit .368 with five home runs and 23 RBI for the Warriors.
Zach Hayden, right fielder, Lakeside, Sr.: Hayden is known as a pitching prospect, but hit .351 with five home runs and 20 RBI despite battling an illness during the season. Headed to junior college power Middle Georgia.
Sam Daniel, utility, Greenbrier, Sr.: USC Aiken signee hit .315 with seven homers and 31 RBI. He was also 4-1 on the mound.
Josh Wirsu, pitcher, Harlem, Jr.: Wirsu might not be as well known as the other top pitchers in the county, but he proved his worth to the Bulldogs this spring, especially in the playoffs.
Michael Farr, pitcher, Evans, Sr.: Farr went 5-1 for the Knights with a 2.69 ERA and just five walks all season.
Tyler Martin (Jr. SS)
Brian Sweeting (Jr. Catcher)
Drew Dillard (Sr. Pitcher)
Christian Croft (Jr. OF)
Rick Thigpen (Sr. 1B-pitcher)
Corey Holloway (Sr. SS)
Tevin Nelson (Sr. OF)
Jeff McGowan (Sr. 3B)
Blake Lane (Jr. OF)
Mitch Davis (So. pitcher)
Hunter McBride (Jr. pitcher)
Taylor Camp (Jr. catcher)
Andy Pringle (Sr. OF)
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