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Notebook: Area baseball teams eager to play ball
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Today’s games

Prince Avenue Christian at Lakeview Academy, 4:30 p.m.

Riverside Military at Union County, 5 p.m.

White County at Johnson, 5:30 p.m.

Banks County at East Jackson, 5:30 p.m.

Jackson County at Meadowcreek, 5:30 p.m.

Lumpkin County at West Hall, 5:30 p.m.

East Hall at Creekview, 5:30 p.m.

Gainesville at Gilmer, 5:30 p.m.

Commerce at Athens Christian, 5:30 p.m.

Habersham Central at Cedar Shoals, 5:30 p.m.

Cross Keys at Buford, 5:30 p.m.

North Oconee at Jefferson, 5:55 p.m.

North Hall at Flowery Branch, 7 p.m.

Lumpkin County High baseball coach Nicky Jenkins just wants it to stop raining. There’s a lot on the line for the Indians, who are 11-1 in Region 7-AAA play this season.

After continual rain the past two weeks, Jenkins is willing to do whatever it takes to get his field ready to play, even if it means spending hours playing landscaper on his field Thursday laying down a layer of absorbent material trying to have it ready for play.

It turns out that even going to those extremes weren’t enough to get the Indians back on the field. The weather pattern the past couple of weeks has been on repeat cycle with steady rains followed by a lack of sun or substantial daytime heating, which have left area fields a soggy mess.

"It’s so frustrating," Jenkins said. "One of the biggest things is that when we finally do get to play we’ve come out sluggish.

"With our team we play on momentum."

Lumpkin County’s game against Flowery Branch on Wednesday in Dahlonega was called off since it wasn’t dry enough to play. Thursday’s game for the Indians against North Hall, which was rescheduled from last Friday’s rain out, was also called. Now Lumpkin County sits two games behind in the region schedule and those games will have to be fit in during upcoming open dates.

Lumpkin County’s coach is just hoping to salvage three games this week with today’s trip to West Hall.

The layoff is going to get even longer now with spring break for many schools coming next week. Lumpkin County plans to play Flowery Branch on Saturday, have three days off for vacation, then return to prepare to play Creekview next Friday and North Hall the following day.

Lakeview Academy coach Deuce Roark sees the biggest impact of so many midseason rainouts coming down the road. The Lions’ (10-1, 4-0 Region 8-A) coach fully anticipates playing four or five region games at the tail end of the regular season.

"So you better start preparing a fourth and fifth starter, or you’re going to find yourself in trouble," Roark said.

Lakeview Academy is fortunate enough to have an indoor facility at its baseball field, which is useful for keeping pitchers loose and taking batting practice. Lakeview Academy, Riverside, North Hall and Chestatee also have tarp for keeping the infield dry.

Even having a tarp for the infield doesn’t come without adverse affects. Lakeview’s coach says they left the tarp on the field for four straight days, leaving parts of the grass discolored. The Lions hope to squeeze in today’s home game against Prince Avenue Christian.

"I can’t remember a year like this with weather and the fact that it’s been so constant for an extended period of time," Roark said.

Double-edged sword

Lakeview Academy junior Ralston Cash had a week to be admired at the plate and on the mound. Cash (4-0) started the week throwing a no-hitter against Athens Academy, finishing the game with eight strikeouts, and lowering his season ERA to 0.27 with 37 strikeouts and only six hits allowed all season.

The following day, Cash had two home runs and four RBIs in a 9-4 win against region rival Commerce. Tyler Ward recorded the win for the Lions with 10 strikeouts and two hits at the plate.

Offensive explosion

White County’s David Sosebee and Kyle Mills each had two home runs in a loss to region frontrunner Creekview (13-2, 12-1) on Monday. Sosebee pitched five strong innings to start the game with eight strikeouts. Mills followed with a scoreless inning in relief.

Sosebee is White County’s (6-8, 4-8) leader on the mound with a 2-0 record and 25 strikeouts and a 2.47 ERA.

Nice surprise

Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Lawler was hoping to find a consistent starter in James Mills this season. He probably had no idea he’d found an ace to his staff. Mills now has a 4-0 record for Flowery Branch (10-3, 9-3).

James Wilson (.564 avg., 22 RBIs and 22 runs) and Brad Stone (.513 avg., 13 RBIs and 20 runs) are both leading the Falcons at the plate.

Pitching depth

Lumpkin County’s coach is probably relieved with the depth his pitching staff has provided. Seven different Indians starters (Devin Dunson, Chase Grizzle, Chris Guthrie, Kyle Lovell, Blake Sargent, Drew Uptegraph and David Webber) all have recorded wins this season.

That depth is certainly a benefit considering Grizzle (2-0, 2.27 ERA) has unspecified elbow problems and may be through pitching this season, says Jenkins.

Dunson is leading Lumpkin County offensively with a .542 average and 21 runs scored and 21 RBIs. Will Anderson (.455 avg.), Chad Fulton (.442 avg.) and Randy Otis (.417 avg.) are continuing to hit the ball well for the Indians.

Steady arms

North Hall (8-7, 8-5) isn’t going to overpower anyone with its pitching staff, but it sure has shown signs of consistency. Chris Stevens, Davis Partrick and Jacob Brewster all have an ERA below 3.00 for the Trojans. Stevens has a 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Brewster (2.73 ERA) is emerging as a solid No. 1 arm out of the bullpen for North Hall.

Nate Strong continues to lead North Hall at the plate with a .512 average and 18 runs scored. Junior shortstop K.J. McAllister is hitting .461 with four home runs and 21 runs scored. Partrick is hitting .470.

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