GHSA Diamond Notes: 2/17 to 3/1

Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director

Throughout the 2020 high school season, we’re accepting nominations from the coaches across the state of Georgia for their program’s Player of the Week candidates. While there can only be one Player of the Week in the state, we’ll be using this weekly GA Diamond Notes post to highlight the top performers of the past week who fell just short of POTW honors. We cover all corners of the state – from 1A to 7A – and the evidence is in this post.

Below are the Diamond Notes from February 24 to March 1.

Rem Maxwell, RHP, Jefferson, 2021
Facing one of the top teams in the state, Parkview, Maxwell kept the Panthers in-check. The uncommitted junior pitched five innings, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out seven batters.

Joshua Leerssen, RHP, Mt. Bethel, 2020, Michael Fuller, SS, Mt. Bethel, 2020 & Hunter Colier, 3B, Mt. Bethel, 2023
Leerssen had one of the best weeks out of any player nominated, both on the the mound and at the plate. On the mound he made two starts, picking up the win in both. In the eight and two thirds innings pitched, he allowed zero earned runs and struck out 13. Offensively, Leerssen went 7-for-13 with two doubles, six runs batted in, seven runs scored, and four stolen bases. Fuller put together a just as robust week at the plate, going 8-for-12 with three doubles, five runs batted in, six runs scored and four stolen bases. Only a freshman, Colier is making big contributions at the varsity level. The youngster went 7-for-12 with two doubles, five runs batted in, three runs scored and two stolen bases on the week.

Andrew Herrmann, LHP, Campbell, 2021, Michael Braswell, RHP, Campbell, 2021 & the whole Campbell Pitching Staff
Herrmann was on the unfortunate side of a 1-0 loss to Newnan, allowing an unearned run. The Wofford commit dealt over six innings, striking out 12 batters, walking one, while scattering five hits. Braswell avenged the loss a few days later as Campbell won the game 10-0 over Newnan. Braswell went six innings, allowing three hits, zero runs, one walk and striking out eight. Over the past seven games the Campbell pitching staff has been nearly untouchable. In 54 innings, they have a team ERA of .907, 63 strikeouts, 13 walks, seven earned runs, nine total runs, a .176 batting average against and are throwing 64.5% strikes.

Dawson Brown, RHP/SS, Tattnall Square, 2020
Brown got the start in the finale of Tattnall Squares weekend tournament, defeating rival Savannah Christian 6-2. The Georgia Tech commit threw a complete game four hitter with nine strikeouts. He also got it done at the plate, going 7-for-11 with two doubles, two runs batted in and two runs scored.

Preston Joye, SS, Fellowship Christian, 2020 & Cooper Davidson, OF, Fellowship Christian, 2023
Fellowship Christian had two players both hit an identical .778 (7-for-9) on the week. Joye had a double, a homerun, six runs batted in, six runs scored, slugged 1.222 and put up an OPS of 2.000. Just a freshman, Davidson, added a double, a triple, three runs batted in, five runs scored, and slugged 1.111 with a 1.889 OPS.

Jackson Westmoreland, SS, St. Francis, 2023
Westmoreland had a big week at the plate for the Knights. He collected seven hits, six singles and one homerun, in nine at-bats, tallying three runs batted in, five runs scored, one walk, and one stolen base with an OBP of .800. For the season, Westmoreland is hitting .647 with 11 hits, nine runs batted in, 10 runs scored, nine walks, while striking out only twice. He has also stolen eight bases.

Blake Friend, UTL, Winder-Barrow, 2020
Friend has helped lead Winder-Barrow to one of the state’s top rankings in our latest GA Power 25. Last week, the senior, hit 6-for-12 with four runs batted in and three runs scored. He then hopped on the mound to pitch six innings of one run ball, picking up the victory. Friend has been a swiss army knife for the Dogs, playing six different positions while not committing a single error.

Antonio James, OF/RHP, Westover, 2021
Westover started region play with a two game sweep over Hardaway, and Jameds was a big reason why. The junior went 2-for-5 at the plate, with a double, a triple, four runs batted in, four runs scored, two walks, a hit by pitch, a sacrifice fly and three stolen bases. He then hopped on the mound and threw a complete game one-hitter with five strikeouts to earn the win.

Casey Casseen, RHP, Central Carroll, 2020
A Gordon State commit, Casseen led Central Carroll to a shutout victory over Bowdon. The senior only allowed three hits while striking out 12 batters.

Treyton Rank, INF/RHP, Buford, 2021
Buford travelled to LaGrange this past weekend for the LaGrange Toyota Invitational where the Wolves posted a 3-1 record, falling in the championship to North Paulding. Rank did his part picking up a win over Trinity Christian (FL) and blasting two homeruns, good for seven runs batted in, batting .428.

Jared Jones, C, Walton, 2022
One of the state’s top power hitters, the LSU commit put his power on full display, hitting two homeruns and a double, good for five runs batted in. In total, he collected four hits on the week.

Sam Stewart, C/3B/RHP, Lakeview Academy, 2020
Stewart did it all for Lakeview Academy this week. He batted .538 with eight runs batted in, three doubles and a homerun. While catching, he threw out 75% of runners and then hopped on the mound to pick up the save against West Hall. Stewart also made multiple plays at third base.

Eddie Galatas, RHP, Decatur, 2020
A North Georgia commit, Galatas has had a remarkable start to the season, going 2-0 with a .600 ERA. This week, he threw a five inning complete game shutout, giving up one hit while striking out 14, including seven in a row at one point.

Ben Norton, RHP/SS, Lassiter, 2021 & Walker Noland, RHP/OF, Lassiter, 2021
It was a big week for two-way prospects at Lassiter. First, Norton threw a complete game one-hit shutout over Kennesaw Mountain, striking out 10 and walking zero. He also went 3-for-8 with two runs and a run batted in on the week. Then, Noland picked up the win over River Ridge, throwing six scoreless innings, allowing only three hits while striking out nine and walking none. Noland also went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in and a run scored against Milton.

Logan Curry, C, North Forsyth, 2023, Garrett Staton, SS/3B, North Forsyth, 2020 & Anthony DiMola, LHP, North Forsyth, 2020
Curry, just a freshman, got his chance in a loaded lineup for North Forsyth, and delivered a 5-for-7, three RBI effort in two games. Staton, who we have seen bang the ball around the park continued to do so this week. The Samford commit, went 6-for-12 with a double, two runs batted in and three stolen bases. DiMola, one of the state’s top left-handed pitchers, continues to carve opponents. This week, he went six innings, allowing two hits and striking out 11, picking up the win.

Gabe Duncan, OF, Thomasville, 2022 & Jaylen Jones, LHP/1B, Thomasville, 2021
Duncan, a sophomore, was an offensive leader for Thomasville this week. The outfielder went 5-for-10 with a run scored, four runs batted in and a double. Jones, a Michigan commit, has been a two-way standout for Thomsville. In a los against Lee County, he went five and two thirds innings, allowing just two hits while striking out 10. At the plate, he added four hits, two of which were homeruns, putting up for runs batted in, four runs scored and a stolen base.

Samuel Simpson, 3B, Carrollton, 2021, Eli Runyan, LHP, Carrollton, 2021, Colton Cosper, LHP/OF, Carrollton, 2021, & Bear Madliak, C, Carrollton, 2021
Carrollton are off to one of the state’s top starts and are rightfully ranked as a top-5 team. A big part of their success has been a well-balanced offense and pitching staff. This week, in three wins over South Paulding, Arabia Mountain and Alexander, they got contributions all over the diamond. South Carolina commit, Simpson, went 5-for-8 with four runs, a double, three homeruns, five runs batted in and a stolen base. Runyan, a South Alabama commit, had a perfect game until the last inning against Arabia Mountain. He ended with a complete game one-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and no walks. Cosper, a Mercer commit, tossed a complete game one-hit shutout against Alexander. The junior had eight strikeouts and zero walks, and then added three hits with two runs, two runs batted in and a stolen base. Then there is Madliak, who caught all three games and went 5-for-9 with a double and two runs batted in.

Ben Johnson, RHP, Providence Christian, 2020
Facing Greater Atlanta Christian, Johnson, a Georgia Southern commit, picked up the win in a 7-0 game. The senior went six and two third innings, scattering three hits while striking out 14 batters.

Bubba Chandler, INF/RHP, North Oconee, 2021
North Oconee are off to a 5-0 start and Chandler is a huge reason why. Last week, the two-way prospect went 8-for-18 at the plate with seven runs scored, eight runs batted in, five stolen bases, two walks, a double and a two homeruns. On the mound, he made a two inning appearance, allowing one hit and striking out five batters.

DJ Banks, SS, McEachrn, 2020 & Bryce Archie, MIF/RHP, McEachern, 2022
Banks, a Gordon State commit, had a big week at the plate. Although he only had two hits, he had a huge grand slam in the second inning against South Cobb to put them up 6-3. In total, he collected five runs batted in and three runs scored. Archie, batted .500, going 4-for-8 with four runs scored, and then hopped on the mound for five innings, allowing two runs and striking out two.

Rome Dean, INF, Benedictine, 2020
Dean had a great week at the plate for Benedictine. The senior batted 7-for-9 in three games, with 11 plate appearances. He had four runs batted in and one walk, helping the Cadets move to 7-3 on the season.

Adam Hooks, RHP/INF, Johnson County, 2020
On Wednesday night Hooks toed the rubber versus Treutlen County and threw a complete game, giving up two earned runs with seven strikeouts and no walks. In addition, he was 1-for-3 with a double in the game, tallying two of the five runs batted in. That wasn't the end of the week for Hooks. He continued to have a hot bat versus Howard and Dublin. In the two games on Saturday he was a total of 4-for-5 with three doubles, a single, one hit by pitch, and four runs batted in.

Mason Brown, LHP, Parkview, 2021
In the finals of the Georgia Peach Invitational, Brown combined to no-hit Blessed Trinity in an 8-0 victory. Brown tossed six no-hit innings, striking out seven, walking one and hitting one batter for the state’s newly minted No. 1 ranked team.

Nash Bingham, OF, Christian Heritage, 2021
An uncommitted junior, Bingham came up big at the plate and in the outfield for Christian Heritage. On the week, he went 4-for-7 with two doubles, two runs batted in, one walk, one run scored and added in two assists from center field.

Aidan Berrong, INF/RHP, Towns County, 2021
Despite the poor weather, Towns County was able to get four games in last week. For his part, Berrong went 8-for-14 with a double, three runs batted in, three walks, one hit by pitch and six stolen bases. He then got on the mound to pitch three innings, striking out three and picking up a win.

Jake Green, RHP, Thomas County Central, 2021
Junior Jake Green continued his strong early season pitching performance this week with a complete game, two-hit shutout against Bainbridge. Green tallied eight strikeouts in the start. On the season, he is 2-1 with a .824 era and a .824 WHIP in 17 innings pitched.

Riley Cruce, LHP, Loganville, 2021
Cruce has gotten out of the gate extremely well for Loganville, pitching near flawlessly early on. This week, facing Jefferson, he went four innings, allowing one hit, zero runs and striking out 11 in Loganville’s victory.

Gethyn Ellerson, MIF, Dougherty, 2020
Last week Ellerson was truly impressive whenever he got on base. The senior collected three hits in seven at-bats. However, he tallied a total of nine stolen bases and scored for runs.

Preston Price, RHP/INF, Burke County, 2020
Price was outstanding this past Thursday for Burke County against Jefferson in their 5-1 victory. The senior threw a complete game, allowing six hits, one walk, an unearned run, while striking out 10. At the plate, he sparked the offense with three singles a run batted in.

Jackson Phipps, LHP, East Paulding, 2020
A South Carolina commit, one of the state’s top pitchers, Phipps helped East Paulding defeat South Paulding 10-0 on Friday night. The southpaw threw six shutout innings, allowing one hit, walking two and striking out 15.

Tyler Gray, RHP, Grayson, 2021
Gray picked up the victory against West Forsyth last week, in a 6-0 route. Gray had a perfect game through five innings before finally surrendering a hit in the bottom of the sixth. He ended the day with five innings pitched, zero runs and eight strikeouts.

DJ Radtke, RHP/1B, Blessed Trinity, 2021
An Auburn commit, Radtke got it done on the mound and at the plate. In a win over Loganville, Radtke pitched four and a third shutout innings, scattering four hits and striking out four. At the plate, in three games, he batted .333 with a double and three runs batted in.

Below are the Diamond Notes from February 17 to February 23.

Jake Green, RHP, Thomas County Central, 2021, Griffin Taylor, RHP, Thomas County Central, 2023 & Shane Stephenson, SS, Thomas County Central, 2020
Thomas County Central had a big week from a trio of players. Green and Taylor led the pitching staff with some impressive numbers. Green picked up 10 strikeouts over five innings, while only walking two and allowing four hits. He also added four hits at the plate in seven at-bats. Taylor, only a freshman, put together a solid four innings on the week, striking out four, walking one and scattering four hits. Stephenson, who frequently appeared in the 2019 Diamond Notes, picked up where he left off last season, going 5-for-9 and playing exceptional defense, not making an error in 11 chances.

Marshall Toole, OF, Decatur, 2021 & Jaylen Paden, RHP/SS, Decatur, 2020
A Wofford commit, Toole has been in stride since the season began. In three games over the week, he went 6-for-11 with three doubles, four runs scored, three runs batted in and two stolen bases. For the season, he is batting .409. As for Paden, a Georgia Southern commit, he has been dynamite on the mound and is catching the eye of pro scouts around the state. The senior two-way player picked up a win while striking out 10, and compiling a .636 ERA. Offensively, he went 4-for-10 with three doubles, and two stolen bases.

Will Dean, RHP, Hart County, 2021
An uncommitted junior, Dean had a phenomenal weekend at the Georgia Dugout Club Tournament where he was awarded the Most Valuable Pitcher award. Dean made two appearances, one in relief and one as a start. In relief he pitched two-thirds of an inning, allowing zero hits. He then returned to toss a complete game no-hitter against Riverwood. In total, he pitched seven and two-thirds innings of no-hit baseball, while only walking two batters.

John Goodrow, C, Forsyth Central, 2021 & Luke Owens, OF, Forsyth Central, 2020
The Bulldogs had a huge week as a team, going 4-0 with wins over Cartersville, Northview, and Heritage twice. Goodrow and Owens helped lead the way offensively. Goodrow went 5-for-6 with three runs batted in and one walk, while Owens put together a 5-for-9 week with four runs batted in, four runs scored, three stolen bases and three walks.

Colby Rogers, MIF/RHP, Commerce, 2020
An uncommitted senior, Rogers got things done as a two-way player. At the plate, he batted 5-for-11, and then hopped on the mound and picked up a big save for the Tigers.

Adam Lowery, RHP, Brookstone, 2021
Lowery put together one of the best pitching stat lines for Player of the Week nominations. The junior right-hander tossed six innings of one hit baseball, striking out six, allowing zero walks and zero runs in a 4-2 victory over Prince Avenue.

Evan Richardson, C/RHP, Burke County, 2021
Richardson helped Burke County secure two victories over Oglethorpe County and Emanuel County Institute on the mound and at the plate. As a pitcher, he went four and one third innings, scattering one run on four hits, striking six and walking two. At the plate, he collected four hits, one run batted in, one run score, one walk and one stolen base.

Jayden Lockett, MIF, Dougherty, 2020
It was a tough week for the Dougherty Trojans, however Lockett provided some spark on the offensive side and rock solid defense. Lockett batted 4-for-6 with two doubles, slugging 1.167, and compiled a perfect fielding record.

Cayden Frost, OF, Harris County, 2021
Much of the week was rained out for Harris County, but they were able to return to action on Saturday the 22nd, picking up wins over South Gwinnett and East Coweta. Frost had an explosive weekend at the plate, collecting four hits in five at-bats, including a grand slam, bringing his RBI total to seven, while scoring three runs and walking twice.

Eric Lewis, RHP, McIntosh County Academy, 2020
Lewis, a towering 6-foot-6, got the start against Clinch County and dazzled. In five innings pitched, he allowed zero runs, two hits and struck out 10, leading McIntosh County Academy to victory. Through the first two weeks of the season, Lewis has 21 strikeouts, a 0.00 ERA, and has allowed only three hits.

Sam Cherry, RHP, Hillgrove, 2020 & Cameron Powser, C, Hillgrove, 2021
Cherry was 1-0 with a save on the week. To start the week, he picked up the save against Newnan on Feb. 17, throwing one shutout inning. Then, Cherry got the start against Harrison, going five and a third scoreless innings, allowing zero runs, striking out one and walking one. As for Poweser, he caught all four games, batting 5-for-8 with two doubles, two walks, three bit by pitches, two runs batted in and an OPS of 1.644.

Nathan Davis, 1B, Christian Heritage, 2020
Christian Heritage had a busy week, playing five games from Saturday to Saturday. Davis batted .529 on the week, collecting nine hits that included one double, three walks, one stolen base and a whopping 11 runs batted in.

Bennett Drake, OF, St. Francis, 2020 & Carter Davies, RHP, St. Francis, 2022
Drake had a great week offensively for the Knights. Over four games he hit .571 with a .789 OBP. The highlight of the week was a grand slam against Weber, he also added in four stolen bases. Davies made two appearances on the mound, pitching seven innings. The right-hander allowed six hits, one run, two walks and struck out 11 batters.

Beau Lewis, MIF, Newnan, 2021 & Austin Roberts, C, Newnan, 2020
Lewis was instrumental in Newnan’s 4-3 8-inning victory over Spalding County, going 3-for-4. Roberts helped lead Newnan to two victories over East Paulding and Benedictine Academy at the Georgia Dugout Club Tournament, collecting five hits in 11 at-bats.

Daniel Braswell, 1B/OF, Loganville, 2021 & Riley Cruce, LHP, Loganville, 2021
Facing some of the state’s top talent early in the season, Loganville went 2-2 with wins over Lowndes County and Winder-Barrow, its losses came against two of the state’s best in Parkview and North Gwinnett. On the week, Braswell went 2-for-6 with a single and a three-run homerun. Cruce, in his first start of the season against Lowndes, pitched four shutout innings, tallying four strikeouts along the way.

Brodie Chestnutt, RHP, Houston County, 2021
Chestnutt, a Florida State commit, is as physically intimidating as they come, one of the largest prospects in the entire state, he is also an extremely talented pitcher and it showed on the 24th when he went up against Eastside. The big right-hander led Houston County to a victory, tossing a no-hitter.

Matthew Pearce, RHP, Calvary Christian, 2021
Pearce has started the season strong, going 3-0 in his first three starts for the back-to-back state champs. For the week, he went 2-0, tossing a complete game shutout against Lafayette and then coming back to throw a complete game over LaGrange in a 4-1 victory. In total, he allowed one unearned run over 14 innings, striking out 16 and walking one to pick up two wins.

Austin Clark, LHP, North Cobb Christian, 2020
Although Clark picked up the no-decision against North Cobb, he did toss four perfect innings, allowing zero hits, zero runs, zero walks and striking out two.

Bryson Lofton, 3B, Southeast Whitfield, 2021
Southeast Whitfield is off to a hot start and Lofton is a huge reason why. For the week, Lofton went 5-for-12, with four doubles, one single, an incredible 10 runs batted in, one run scored and one stolen base.

Kristian Kelley, RHP/OF, Dawson County, 2020
Dawson County are off to one of the best starts in the entire state, winning their first six games. Over the week, Dawson County won all three of their games, with wins over Gordon Central and two over Coosa. For his efforts, Kelley went 5-for-6 with one homerun, one double, five runs batted in and two walks. On the mound, he pitched five innings of one hit baseball, striking out eight in the victory over Gordon Central.

Jake Garner, RHP, Whitewater, 2021
Garner has been a go-to pitcher for Whitewater early in the season, and has been dominant. Making two appearances in the week, he pitched eight innings, allowing zero earned runs, striking out eight, walking two, all while picking up two wins.

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