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Boys Athlete of the Week: Dawson County's Colton Chester

Tigers' senior catcher had a home run in six straight plate appearances

POSTED: April 14, 2014 8:33 p.m.

For the past two games, Colton Chester has been an unstoppable, home-run-hitting machine.

Against Buford on Wednesday, Dawson County’s senior catcher launched homers in consecutive at-bats to spark a 3-2 extra-inning win and hand the top-ranked Wolves (18-1, 14-1) their first loss of the season.

He followed it on Friday by having the game of his life: a school-record four home runs and 11 RBIs in a 14-12 win against West Hall.

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

Chester homered in six straight plate appearances, which all started when he ripped a 2-0 fast ball over the center field fence in Dawsonville against Buford’s junior left-handed ace Jake Higginbotham, who is already verbally committed to Clemson and drawing interest from pro scouts.

By the time Chester’s hitting spree was done Friday in Dawsonville against West Hall, young fans were lining up outside the dugout to get the autograph of the senior who doesn’t even currently have plans to play baseball in college. However, that could easily change after the hitting clinic he put on.

“It was just awesome to have two games like that,” said the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Chester, who currently plans on attending the College of Coastal Georgia next year in Brunswick.

“I still get chills just thinking about it all ... it’s just crazy.”

Chester, who bats fourth in the Tigers’ order, said his season started to turn for the better two weeks ago.

He received a message from his father, who was out of town on business, wanting him to just keep playing his best and enjoy what remained of his senior season. He responded positively to that encouragement with three hits in an 11-5 win against Banks County.

“A couple weeks back, Colton started hitting a lot of line drives and was making good contact with the ball,” Dawson County coach Thad Burgess said.

During his stretch of hitting a half-dozen straight homers, Chester said it was just like hitters in a zone always say: the ball looked as big as a grapefruit, floating up to the plate right in his wheelhouse. He’ll get a chance to keep the streak alive tonight against White County, a makeup from Monday’s rainout, in Cleveland.

He’ll likely be going to the plate against Warriors senior right-handed ace Spencer Adams, who is projected to be drafted early in the MLB Draft in June.

Dawson County (12-8, 7-8 Region 7-AAA) needs a win to keep its playoff hopes alive since it’s two games back of the Warriors for the fourth playoff spot in the region with only five games left to go in the regular season.

Still a longshot for the postseason, the Tigers are nevertheless in a much better position than they were a week ago.

“We’re certainly going to try our best to make the playoffs,” Burgess said. “This has been a very exciting time for our program.”

And Chester remains focused on getting on base, even though he knows it may be hard to ever come close to replicating last week’s effort.

Against Buford, Chester hit a solo home run to tie the game at 1-1 in the fourth, then another to tie it 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth with two strikes in the count. On defense, Chester also did his part by throwing out a pair of base runners in each game.

Teammate Harley Pruitt had a walk-off single to win the game in the 10th against the Wolves, who will host Dawson County in a final meeting April 25 in Gwinnett County.

Even after going deep twice against Buford, Chester was still seeing pitches to hit against West Hall.

Three of his home runs were three-run shots, while another scored two runs. According to Burgess, two home runs were on curveballs and the other two were off fastballs in the strike zone.

Even after a towering home run as ‘high as the light pole’ over the left field fence in his second at bat, Chester was concerned about popping up when he got up to the plate again.

It turned out, he had no reason to be worried.

In his third at-bat, Chester, a .300 hitter on the season, hit a line drive that he said barely cleared the wall in center field. He went over the fence to center, again, in his final at bat — a little further this time — guessing that the ball traveled about 360 feet.

Chester also got to pitch an inning in relief and earned the win on the mound against the Spartans.

For Dawson County’s cleanup hitter, the magnitude of the game hit home the next day with dozens of text messages congratulating him on his feat, along with many new Twitter followers.

“It was all just very humbling to have a game like I did,” Chester said.

Burgess said more than 100 local kids were on hand for the game against West Hall because it was Dawson County Parks & Recreation Night. Once Chester stepped to the plate for his final at bat, dozens of the young boys sprinted behind the outfield fence anticipating another shot.

Unaware of it at the time, Chester said his mother told him the next day about children swarming for his final home run ball.

“After the game, we probably had a line of 30 kids waiting to get his autograph on anything they could find,” Burgess said. “It was like he was larger than life that night."


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