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Athlete of the Week: Hefflinger does it all for Region 7-AAA's top team

POSTED: April 19, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Is there a position on the baseball field that Gainesville senior Robby Hefflinger can’t play? Behind the plate, on the mound and in the field — he’s comfortable doing it all.

Gainesville’s 6-foot-4 senior is most well-known for his abilities behind the plate with a cannon of an arm that has landed Hefflinger a scholarship to play at the University of Georgia next season.

But Hefflinger is anything but one-dimensional as a baseball player. He is a constant threat to produce the long ball at the plate. On Monday, he finished with a pair of home runs and 3 RBIs in a win against Pickens.

And on the mound he is just as good.

Hefflinger is sporting a 4-1 record as a pitcher thanks to his ability to change speeds and stay within the strike zone.

Hefflinger was clutch on the mound in a 15-4 win against Gilmer last Wednesday in Ellijay. He picked up the victory with 13 strikeouts in a game shortened to only six innings thanks to the 10-run rule.

Hefflinger’s win helped the Red Elephants (11-4, 10-1 Region 7-AAA) build some separation for first place in the region standings from the Bobcats (11-3, 9-2).

"I like the adrenaline rush of the big games," Hefflinger said. "My attitude is to go after hitters and try to get the fast ball past them but I also like to try and paint the corners when I can."

This wasn’t the first time that Hefflinger managed to rack up a lofty strikeout total this season. His season-high was 15 against Jonesboro early in the season. Hefflinger also recorded nine strikeouts in a complete game shutout victory against North Hall on March 17.

"He’s doing good on the mound," Gainesville coach Wayne Vickery said. "He’s got good control of his pitches."

Hefflinger is another strong arm to go with a deep pitching staff for the Red Elephants. On the mound, Gainesville goes four-deep in its starting rotation with Hefflinger, Zach Bennett, Justin Fordham and Max Joseph.

The effectiveness of the Red Elephants pitching staff shows in the fact that the team has only given up 28 runs in 11 region games.

"We like that we can throw anyone out there on the mound and feel like we have a good chance to win," Hefflinger said.



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