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Athlete of the Week: North Hall's Chris Stevens

POSTED: March 21, 2011 10:46 p.m.

After a disappointing 2010 season in which it missed the postseason, the North Hall baseball team seems determined to ensure that it at least gets a shot at the state tournament in 2011.

The Trojans (7-2, 5-1 Region 8-AAA) are led by five seniors, including Chris Stevens, who had a career day on March 14 against Lumpkin County in Dahlonega.

The utility player-Stevens has pitched and played first, third and in the outfield through the first 11 games of the season-hit a grand slam, a two-run home run and drove in seven runs as the Trojans rolled to the 13-2 win.

For his efforts, Stevens is The Times Athlete of the Week.

"Those were the first two home runs I've hit in high school," Stevens said. "And they felt really good."

The senior, who bats fourth in coach Trent Mongero's lineup, said he is usually a contact hitter who focuses on advancing runners.

"But both times the pitcher left a fastball right in the heart of the plate and I drove them," Stevens said. "I turned on the first one and put it over the left-center fence and the second one was almost to dead-away center."

Abundant offensive output has been typical of North Hall this season. Through nine games the team has averaged a double-digit run total, a statistic that shows the team's desire to improve on an 14-11, 11-8 record last season.

"Hitting is all about practice and desire," Stevens said.

He believes that several extra hours of work put in the week before led to his big game against Lumpkin County.

"I spent some extra time working on my swing and hitting," Stevens said. "And it definitely helped."

The rest of the Trojans have been putting in solid effort too, according Stevens, in an effort to make the postseason.

"We want to make the playoffs," Stevens said. "We were right in the middle of it until the last week of the season last year, and then fell out."

Stevens said that the team has improved all four years he has been on the varsity squad and that this season's team is the best he's played on.

"We're capable of not only getting to the state playoffs, but winning a series," Stevens said. "But first we've got to get out of the region and that's always tough.

"With teams like Gainesville and White County to get by, winning our region is a hard thing to do."

North Hall will continue its postseason quest with a visit to Loganville to face Walnut Grove at 5:55 p.m. Wednesday.



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