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Boys Athlete of the Week: North Hall's Preston Graham
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Honor roll

Baseball

Spencer Adams, White County: Had a two-run double and recorded a win on the mound, striking out eight over six innings on Wednesday against East Hall.

Dakota Chalmers, Lakeview Academy: Pitched five innings, allowing only one hit with nine strikeouts on Tuesday against Pinecrest Academy, and added three hits and three RBIs.

Keltin Devoe, Flowery Branch: Went 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs on Friday in a win over Cedar Shoals.

Max Ford, Jefferson: Struck out 10 batters over seven innings and was 1 for 5 with an RBI on Tuesday in a win over Union County.

Dylan Gibeau, Flowery Branch: Struck out 10 while allowing two hits and one earned run over seven innings Tuesday in a win over Clarke Central.

Lincoln Hewett, North Hall: Went 2 for 4 with a grand slam and four RBIs on Friday in a win over Dawson County.

Jonathon Hughes, Flowery Branch: Went 4 for 4 with a home run and a pair of doubles Friday in a win over Cedar Shoals.

Adam Kelly, North Hall: Pitched a five-inning shutout and allowed only one hit Tuesday against West Hall.

Drew Miles, Flowery Branch: Finished 3 for 4 with four RBIs and a two-run home run Wednesday against Cedar Shoals.

Zach Mize, North Hall: Had three hits and drove in four runs Tuesday against West Hall.

C.J. Navin, Flowery Branch: Went 2 for 4 with a home run Tuesday in a win against Clarke Central.

Avery Smith, Lakeview Academy: Struck out six and walked one in a win over Towns County.

Blake Turner, Flowery Branch: Had two triples and a double and struck out seven over six innings Wednesday in a win over Cedar Shoals.

Andrew Weekley, Flowery Branch: Went 2 for 4 and struck out four over seven innings to get the win Friday over Cedar Shoals.

Soccer

Roman Arriaga, Gainesville: Tallied three goals Tuesday in a win over Apalachee.

Junior Avalos, North Hall: Tallied a goal and two assists on Friday in a win over Buford.

Luis Del Toro, Johnson: Had a goal and two assists on Tuesday in a win over Lanier.

Alan Morales, Johnson: Recorded a shutout with seven saves Tuesday against Lanier.

Tennis

Dane Allen, East Hall: Won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1 singles Tuesday against Dawson County.

Lee Allen Martin, Lakeview Academy: Won 8-0 on Thursday against Commerce.

Seth Black, Lakeview Academy: Won 8-0 on Thursday against Commerce.

Blaine Brown/Juan Carrion, Chestatee: Won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 doubles against Lumpkin County.

Austin Dyer, West Hall: Won 6-0, 6-0 on Thursday against Dawson County.

Jackson Goble, Gainesville: Won 6-0, 6-0 in his singles match against Loganville on Thursday.

Ian Johnson/Hal Jarrett, Jefferson: Won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles Thursday against Social Circle.

Graham McKinnon, Gainesville: Won 6-0, 6-0 in his singles match against Loganville on Thursday.

Tatum Scroggs, West Hall: Won 6-0, 6-0 on Thursday against Dawson County.

Connor Thomas, Lakeview Academy: Won 8-0 on Thursday against Commerce.

Max Wilson, West Hall: Won 6-0, 6-0 on Thursday against Dawson County.

Golf

Pep Brown, Gainesville: Shot a 148 over 36 holes on Friday and Saturday in the Georgia-South Carolina Cup.

John Jacobs, Lakeview Academy: Carded a 41 to lead the Lions in a tri-meet against Dawson County and West Hall.

Joseph Jarrard, Lumpkin County: Carded a 3-under par 33 on Thursday in a dual match at Achasta Golf Course.

Spencer Ralston, Gainesville: Carded a 152, shooting a 76 both days in the Georgia-South Carolina Cup.

Nathan Williams, Gainesville: Carded a team-best total of 146 over 36 holes on Friday and Saturday in the Georgia-South Carolina Cup.

Compiled by Zac Taylor

North Hall senior Preston Graham is first and foremost a pitcher, a probable ace at that, with a 4-1 record that includes a complete-game win over fellow Region 7-AAA contender Buford on Tuesday.

But he’s focused on being an all-around player in his final year at North Hall and in his upcoming collegiate baseball career at Piedmont College.

To that end, his performance March 20 in a 12-1 win over region opponent Dawson County was a very good sign.

“I just want to be able to become stronger as a player and pitcher,” he said. “And I might be getting some hitting time as well (at Piedmont).”

Graham hit the first home run of his high school career, a three-run blast in the first inning, and added a double late in the game. On top of that, he struck out a career-high 13 batters in five innings and allowed just two hits in the win.

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

The senior added that his future college coach at Piedmont was there to witness the blast, which can only help the possibility of Graham splitting time as a pitcher and outfielder at the next level.

Regardless, he works hard at it all.

“He prepares year in and year out, day in and day out — he’s a very special player who competes his rear end off,” North Hall coach Trent Mongero said. ‘“We feel very confident giving him the ball every third game.

“And we like Preston in the nine-hole because he can do it all. He puts pressure on the defense, he’s quick and he has some pop in his bat. He’s not a home run hitter, but he can hit the gaps and he can even get one over the fence every once in awhile.”

Not your average ninth hitter in the lineup, but Graham is even more surprising on the mound. Where he excels, he said, is in throwing his dangerous 12 to 6 curveball in a traditional fastball count.

“When people think I’m coming with a fastball, and then I have the ability to throw a curve ball, that helps a lot,” he said.

It’s kind of ironic then that Graham, who can throw an 88-mph fastball of his own, was waiting on the traditional first-pitch fastball when he went up for his first at bat against Dawson County last week. He saw the pitch he was looking for, swung hard, and deposited the pitch over the left-field fence.

On the mound, he does a very good job of keeping hitters from being able to do just that.

His coach was long-winded when asked about the best pitching attributes of his southpaw.

“His ability to throw two pitches for a strike in any count, keep hitters off balance, and being left-handed with a good pickoff move,” Mongero said. “He’s able to slow down or eliminate the running game for a lot of teams.”

That’s if the hitters reach base at all, something that didn’t happen much earlier in the season against the senior.

In fact, Graham said he liked working backward in the count in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Buford — throwing the curveball is a good method to keep good hitters off balance.

“Especially seeing better hitters, that’s going to help a lot too,” he added.

The Trojans (11-1, 7-0) will see those same hitters again Wednesday for the second of three season meetings series against the Wolves (9-2, 6-1) in Buford.

Graham said he expects the game to be even tougher on the road, and with the opponent now knowing what to expect.

Of course, the senior southpaw is not one to be figured out so easily. He may not be able to bring out his curveball this time around with one of his teammates set to pitch, but he’s now shown that he possesses a little more pop then people might have expected.

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