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NOTEBOOK: Lumpkin County baseball looks legitimate
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Listen to this week's Writer's Block with special guests Trent Mongero and Deuce Roark

Lumpkin County High’s baseball program is making a clear statement for its chances at making a run at the Region 7-AAA title this season.

The Indians (9-1, 7-1 Region 7-AAA) are tied with Creekview (8-2 7-1) for first place at the one-third mark of the region schedule.

The Indians’ only loss this season was to the Grizzlies, 8-1 on March 6.

Lumpkin County’s won most of its games quite easily this season — highlighted by a 20-run outing against Chestatee on March 11 — thanks in large part to an offense that scores 11 runs per game. Devin Dunson (.559 avg., 16 runs, 13 RBIs), Will Anderson (.471, 19 runs) and Chad Fulton (.405, 24 runs, 10 RBIs) have led the Indians all season at the plate. Bringing back Randy Otis (.571, 9 RBI) last week from injury has only made Lumpkin County better offensively.

And the pitching for the Indians has been just as effective. Lumpkin County’s top four (Drew Uptegraph, David Webber, Kyle Lovell and Chase Grizzle) are a combined 7-0 on the mound this season. Uptegraph is clearly the leader of the group with a 3-0 record, 2.22 ERA and only seven earned runs allowed in 22 innings pitched. This kind of pitching depth is going to make Lumpkin County a force in the regular season and into the playoffs.

Roar like a Lion

Lakeview Academy’s (6-0, 2-0 Region 8-A) pitching and hitting combo are making it a clear favorite in Region 8-A. The headliner for the Lions is junior pitcher Ralston Cash (3-0, 0.58 ERA, 29 strikeouts) in 19 innings pitched. He’s only allowed seven hits against 45 batters faced this season.

Cash is also hitting the ball pretty good early on. He’s batting .385 with a .500 on base percentage. Haughton Carswell (.500 avg, .667 OBP), Matt Askounis (.400 avg.), Tyler Ward (.400 avg.) and Tyler Young (.400 avg.) bring some depth to the Lions order.

And here’s another reason why Lakeview has a great chance in 8-A: no more Jefferson. The Dragons, winners of back-to-back 8-A titles, are now playing in Class AA.

Offensive explosion

Flowery Branch’s offense doesn’t look to be skipping a beat, since graduating the Times’ 2008 Player of the Year Patrick Henry. The Falcons (6-3, 5-3) are averaging 10 runs a game this season with James Wilson taking charge with a .591 average with 13 hits and eight bases on balls. Lead-off hitter Brad Stone is hitting .444 with 12 hits and has drawn nine walks.

The Falcons have spread out the run production all over their batting order. Flowery Branch’s leaders in runs scored include: Wilson (17), Stone (14), Jimmy Fitzgerald (13), James Mills (8) and Cory Sanderson (7).

No two regions are the same

Region 6-AA and Region 7-AAA couldn’t be any more different in the way they have to configure the regular season.

Schools in Region 7-AAA played no more than two non-region games before starting the 24-game region stretch. Flowery Branch, for example, opened the regular season against Buford on Feb. 25, before opening the region schedule the next day against Gainesville.

Playing in Region 6-AA, Buford (5-4) has to wait until almost the midway point of the season before it opens the region schedule against Blessed Trinity on Monday at Gerald McQuaig Field. The reason for the long wait to open the region schedule is the fact that there are only eight teams in Region 6-AA. The Wolves still face all seven region opponents twice before the end of the season.

An interesting note, Buford will play an opponent in all five classifications, before it sees a region opponent. So far, the Wolves are hitting the ball well, led by Hunter Cash (.571), Cody Getz (.474) and Adam Schrader (.417).

Don’t let the record fool you

East Hall (2-8, 1-7 Region 7-AAA) has two hitters off to great starts to the season in the middle of its order. Cody Davidson (.464, nine runs scored) and Drew Adams (.407, 11 hits) are leading the Vikings in almost all offensive categories.

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