I didn't realize when I picked last year's All-County baseball teams that 11 of the 13 first-team selections were seniors. Looking back at the list, I also noticed that all 11 players signed to play on the college level.
Seven other seniors, who were either second team All-County or Honorable Mention, also earned college scholarships. That's 18 players from one graduating class that will play at college.
Considering only two underclassmen were on the first team, it would not have been a shock if only one or two players signed during the signing period this year.
Well, as always, Columbia County baseball has churned out another great crop of players as six county players signed scholarships this month. Lakeside had two players sign, despite graduating eight starters.
Below is a look at the county players who signed baseball scholarships this month:
Kody Belcher, Lakeside, outfielder, Kennesaw State: Belcher is a tremendous athlete who will likely have to make a choice between playing college ball and signing a pro contract, as he will almost certainly be drafted in June.
Last season, he helped spearhead the Panthers' run to the state finals. Along the way, Belcher hit .425 with six homers and 35 RBI. He also swiped 11 bases and led the county with 42 runs scored.
Heath Durand, Lakeside, pitcher, Georgia Southern: Durand had a 2.10 ERA last season and has reached 90 mph on the radar gun. He was a Top 100 selection by the Georgia Dugout Club.
Bradley Spires, Evans, pitcher/outfielder, USC Aiken: Spires is another player who has a high upside after coming on strong this summer. He will join a Pacers program loaded with local players.
Josh Wirsu, Harlem, pitcher, Fordham: Wirsu went from a virtual unknown to a Division I signee. He flourished as Harlem's No. 2 starter last season, putting together a string of solid outings down the stretch for the Bulldogs, and was named second team All-County. Then, this summer, he sparkled on the travel ball circuit, which earned him several college looks. He chose Fordham over UNC-Asheville.
Jake Sandlin, Greenbrier, second baseman, Georgia College and State University: Sandlin has been a fixture in the infield for Greenbrier during the past few seasons. As a junior, he hit .355 with a pair of homers and seven RBI.
Those numbers and his solid defense made him a second team All-County choice. Georgia College and State also has had a pipeline to Columbia County. Three former county players (Shawn Ward, Sean Harrell and Paul Borden) suited up for the Bobcats last season.
Rex Davis, Greenbrier, pitcher, Savannah State: Davis did not get many innings last season behind Division I signees Shawn McCain and Chad Farmer, but he blossomed this summer. He is in the middle 80s on the radar gun but has the potential to reach the high 80s. He should have a fresh arm and could be one of the breakout players in the county this year. Davis drew interest from several schools.
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