GHSA Diamond Notes: 3/19 to 3/25

By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

Throughout the 2019 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 March 19 to 25.

Kyle Bork, 1B, St. Francis, 2019
This Division-I-bound first baseman helped St. Francis move to 12-4 on the spring, 8-1 within their region, with two big wins over King’s Ridge last week. Bork, a Minnesota commit, had five hits last week, including two doubles and a home run, and also drove in five runs. He made it onto the mound, too, and did not allow a run in 4.1 innings of work either. Madren, a Missouri commit, hit .545 last week with a .615 on-base percentage

Isaac Bouton, RHP/SS, Fellowship Christian, 2019
Isaac Bouton is nearly a weekly feature on Diamond Notes and turned in yet another captivating two-way performance last week. The Columbus State commit pitched a complete game victory against Pinecrest last Wednesday and allowed just three hits in seven innings of work, and K’d seven. He also was 3-for-8 at the plate with a home run, two RBIs, two runs, and walked three times.

Connor Bruce, RHP, Loganville, 2019 & Blaine Marchman, C/OF, Loganville, 2019
Loganville’s Georgia Southern-bound starter and their Georgia State-bound backstop both helped the Red Devils earn a 3-0 week over Miller (VA), Mill Creek, and Hoover (AL). Bruce tossed five shutout innings against a talented Hoover squad and was able to K five batters, too. Marchman had three big hits last week, including a home run, and drove in five runs. Loganville is the No. 5-ranked team in the state and among the most talented, too, as evidenced by these two.

Noah Coleman, LHP/OF, George Walton, 2019
Uncommitted senior Noah Coleman helped GWA to three big regional wins last week, starting with a seven-scoreless-inning start against Providence Christian, in which he scattered five hits and struck out eight. In that game, he also added two hits and three RBIs, including a bases-clearing triple in the ninth that plated three runs to George Walton up late. During the week in total, Coleman tallied six hits and drove in seven runs, leading the team offensively as well.

Mac Crowe, INF, Flint River Academy, 2019
Staggeringly, Mac Crowe’s made just five outs all spring long, leading to a slash line of .737/.762/1.263 – video game numbers. So, really, his performance last week was run of the mill by his standards. He was 10-for-11 last week with two doubles, two homers, and he drove in 10 runs. He has yet to strike out this season.

Kedarrius Cunningham, RHP/OF, 2019 & La’Borris Buchanan, OF, 2020 (Westover)
The Patriots won a pair of games last week over Dougherty and Shaw, snapping a lengthy losing streak in the process. They couldn’t have done it without the work of Kedarrius Cunningham on the mound and La’Borris Buchanan at the plate, either. Cunningham tossed a five-inning no-hitter in a lopsided win over Shaw, striking out 11 batters. He also hit .556 with a couple of extra-base hits and four runs scored from the batter’s box, too. As for Buchanan, he hit .600 last week with seven RBIs and six stolen bases.

Anthony DiMola, LHP, North Forsyth, 2020 & Carter Mullikin, OF, North Forsyth, 2019
The junior southpaw Anthony DiMola tossed a complete game shutout over Forsyth Central last week, in the team’s 3-0 win last Monday. The Georgia Southern commit allowed just four hits and struck out 11 for the Raiders, who are now 10-7 this spring with a big game against South Forsyth up next. As for the uncommitted senior Carter Mullikin, he went 6-for-8 last week with four doubles, helping North win its last three games, including its latest over the formerly ranked War Eagles.

Jonathan French, C, Parkview, 2019 & Xander Stephens, RHP, Parkview, 2020
The No. 2-ranked Parkview Panthers earn two names on the GHSA Diamond Notes this week: backstop Jonathan French and right-hander Xander Stephens. French was 6-for-11 last week, helping the Panthers go 4-0. He slugged a pair of doubles, two home runs, drove in 10 runs, scored seven times, and walked in three plate appearances. He’s hitting an even .500 in 2019 and is slugging .850 with 22 RBIs. Both Miles Garrett and Stephens pitched against Norcross this past week and both were dominant in their outings, though the Georgia Southern commit gets the edge by going the distance. He tossed a complete game shutout and allowed just five hits, two walks, and struck out seven. On the spring, Stephens has an ERA of 1.25 with 26 strikeouts in 22.1 innings.

David Fulcher, 1B/OF, Augusta Christian, 2019
The Lions are 8-5 this spring and have senior David Fulcher to thank for a big win over Hammond on Friday. Fulcher homered twice in the game, and one was a grand slam, and his third hit in the contest was a triple. He tallied 10 total RBIs last week helping Augusta Christian get to 2-2 inside their region.

Jack Gilsenan, 2B, Hillgrove, 2020
The Hillgrove second baseman helped the Hawks climb up the GA Power 25 this week by going 4-for-6 with a home run and seven RBIs. He also walked twice and scored three runs. They’re riding a five-game win streak with Gilsenan’s help and welcome Marietta to town this evening.

Allen Grier, OF, Riverwood, 2019 & Brett Thomas, RHP, Riverwood, 2019
Riverwood was just introduced to the GA Power 25 in yesterday’s update and they’re been dominant all spring thanks, in part, to the season-long performances of Allen Grier and Brett Thomas. Last week, both stood out in particular, with Grier going 7-for-11 with three doubles and a home run, tallying six RBIs – he’s also slugging .798 this spring. As for Thomas, he’s popped up on MLB draft radars this spring and is not slowing down. He tossed a shutout against North Springs last week and allowed just three hits in six frames and struck out 13 batters. He has 44 Ks in 24 innings in 2019, all while maintaining an ERA of 1.12.

Gino Groover, INF, Walker, 2020 & Jackson Sadler, RHP, Walker, 2021
The Wolverines won two of three last week, including back-to-back lopsided wins over Mount Bethel Christian. The junior Gino Groover was 5-for-9 at the plate with three extra-base hits – a double, triple, and home run, while sophomore righty Jackson Sandler tossed a shutdown five-inning perfect game, striking out 11 in the process.

Brandon Haston, OF, East Paulding, 2019 & Jackson Phipps, LHP, East Paulding, 2020
The Raiders are 11-5 this spring with the help of Brandon Haston and Jackson Phipps and are 9-1 in the month of March. Last week, Haston went 7-for-10 with a pair of doubles and drove in four runs. Phipps was also 5-for-10 at the plate and also earned a complete game on Friday against Paulding County. He allowed just one run on three hits, one walk, and he struck out six.

Andrew Hermann, LHP, Campbell, 2019
Campbell southpaw Andrew Hermann tossed two complete games in the last week, and allowed just one run combined on one hit, three walks, and struck out 19 batters in 10 innings pitched. In his last three starts dating back to March 8 against East Coweta, Hermann has tossed three straight complete games with an 0.82 ERA over that 17-inning span, with 31 punch-outs. The Spartans are 4-4 in their region and are on their way to earning a consecutive GHSA 7A playoff berth with the help of Hermann.

Nick Herndon, OF, Thomas County Central, 2019
The Yellowjackets are a 15-1 bubble team and have been thriving in 2019 – both inside and outside of their own region. Senior Nick Herndon starred last week at the plate, going 8-for-11 with two doubles, a triple, and a home run, with six runs driven in and five runs scored. He hit for the cycle in game on of TCC’s doubleheader with Warner Robins on Friday. On the spring, he’s hitting .435 with a .783 slugging percentage, and has driven in 18 runs and scored 16 himself, to date.

Carter Holton, LHP, Benedictine Military, 2021
The sophomore southpaw and Vanderbilt recruit has earned a spot onto the GHSA Diamond Notes before, and was his same dominant self against Southeast Bulloch, in a 10-0 win. He allowed no runs on two hits in his six shutout innings of work, and he struck out 12 over that span and walked none.

Cain Johnson, OF, Centennial, 2019
The Knights are 10-6 this spring and are coming off back-to-back wins over Northview and Roswell, in which senior Cain Johnson was a fixture in both contests. Johnson was  5-for-12 at the plate with two doubles and three RBIs, and also scored a pair of runs. He operated as the team’s sparkplug from the top of the order, setting the tone for Centennial in both wins.

Brody Little, RHP, Bleckley County, 2021
Little tossed a complete game last week, allowing just two unearned on four hits, three walks, and struck out 12 – not bad for a southpaw sophomore on varsity. The Royals are 11-8 – 5-1 within their region – because of Little’s No. 1-type stuff.

Bryson Lofton, 1B, Calhoun 2021
The Calhoun sophomore went 4-for-7 last week with two doubles, two RBIs, two runs, and walked three times. The Yellowjackets are 11-3 this spring and have a big game with Sonoraville this evening.

Brennan Milone, SS, Woodstock, 2019 & Kameron Douglas, RHP, Woodstock, 2022
Brennan Milone was specifically mentioned in this week’s edition of the High School Crosscheck, a compilation of the players in the country stirring draft buzz. He stayed hot last week against a tough Walton team, going 4-for-8 with a home run, four RBIs, and walked three times. The freshman righty also earns a nod here after working 4.2 innings in relief against the Raiders, allowing just two hits, no runs, and he struck out five.

Juilyen Mohammed, INF, McEachern, 2019
The uncommitted senior, Juilyen Mohammed, from McEachern has had a strong 2019 season so far. He added to it last week with another three hits, two walks, and two more RBIs for a McEachern team desperate for offense beyond the work of Mohammed.

Brady Moore, SS, Pickens, 2020 & Chad Pacas, INF, Pickens, 2020
Pickens is 12-6 in 2019 and last week featured a three-game sweep of Gilmer in which their offense erupted for 29 total runs. Coastal Carolina commit Brady Moore went 5-for-10 with a double and a home run while fellow junior Chad Pacas went 6-for-12, also doubling and homering, but it was his walk-off single in the seventh frame of game two that was his clutchest hit of the week. He tallied five RBIs in the three games against Gilmer.

Trippe Moore, OF/RHP, Mary Persons, 2020 & Alex Kite, C, Mary Persons, 2019
The Georgia Tech-committed junior, Trippe Moore, starred at both the batter’s box and on the mound last week for 4A Mary Persons. He was 11-for-19 at the plate with three doubles, a triple, and three home runs, driving in 11 runs and scoring seven times, adding in four stolen bases. He also tossed a five-inning no-hitter against Howard in his lone start of the week, striking out four and walking just one along the way. As for Alex Kite, he went 8-for-18 at the plate with two doubles and two homers, driving in nine and stepping on home five times himself.

Jaxon O’Neal, LHP, Newnan, 2019
Gordon State JC commit Jaxon O’Neal has an active 30-inning scoreless streak going after his outing on Friday in the narrow defeat against Florida’s St. Thomas Aquinas, 7-5. O’Neal now has 50 strikeouts in his 30 innings in 2019 with three saves.

Evan Place, INF, Buford, 2019
The senior Evan Place just recently committed to Montevallo after a huge week in which he led No. 7-ranked Buford on offense. He went 4-for-7 on offense with two doubles and a home run for the Wolves, tallying six RBIs in the process. He’ll help the Wolves on Thursday in a huge non-region (nor class) matchup against No. 2 Parkview, with big GA Power 25 implications on the line.

Jevious Reynolds, C/INF, Fayette County, 2021
In four games for Fayette County last week, Jevious Reynolds went 4-for-7 at the plate with a double and eight runs scored, helped along by five HBPs and four walks. He used his patience to work at-bats and earn free passes, allowing him to tap into his speed which helped him snag 12 stolen bases in total.

Evan Richardson, C/3B, Burke County, 2021
Burke County sophomore Evan Richardson recorded his 21st hit of the spring and drove in his 16th run in just one swing against regional rival Cross Creek last Friday. A three-run homer off his bat to straight away center field cut Cross Creek’s lead to just one at the time.

Brady Skipper, INF, Coffee, 2022
The Coffee freshman went 5-for-11 last week against a regional foe, a talented Houston County squad. He scored five runs for the Trojans to salvage a win in the three-game series, the program’s first-ever win over the Bears.

Zack Smith, 3B, Winder-Barrow, 2019
The senior Mississippi commit had a big three games over Dacula. He went 4-for-9 in total, but was responsible for 11 runs driven in with the help of two homers, including a grand slam. The Bulldoggs are the No. 8-ranked team in the state and host Apalachee this afternoon.

B.J. Spears, OF, Tattnall Square Academy, 2019
The Trojans are rolling, at a staggering 17-0 this spring, and outfielder B.J. Spears helped them get them maintain this momentum last week. The senior helped Tattnall win both its important rivalry games last week by going a combined 6-for-7 with five runs score from the lead-off spot in the order. He’s hitting .542 this spring with five doubles, 15 RBIs, and 32 runs scored and is a whopping 20-for-20 in stolen base attempts this year. He’s getting very familiar with Diamond Notes this season.

Andre Tarver, OF, Ringgold, 2019 & Holden Tucker, LHP, Ringgold, 2019
Another week, another pair of star-studded performances by a talented Ringgold team that’s on the edge of the bubble, clamoring for a GA Power 25 spot. As a Mississippi State commit, and budding MLB draft target, Andre Tarver put together another strong performance for the Tigers in the last week. He went 6-for-8 at the plate with another home run and four more RBIs. Holden Tucker’s becoming all too familiar to Diamond Notes as well. The Charleston Southern commit was 4-for-9 at the plate with four RBIs and also limited North Murray to just one run in five innings pitched and struck out nine batters.

Zach Turner, RHP, North Cobb Christian, 2019
The North Cobb Christian ace, Zach Turner, dominated Mount Paran Christian last Tuesday in a 2-1 victory for the Eagles. He allowed a run in the first frame on no hits and proceeded to no-hit Mount Paran the rest of the game, too, preventing them from adding any more runs and allowing his own team to come back and earn the win. He K’d 11 over seven innings of work. The Mercer commit as a 0.45 ERA in 21 innings this spring and has allowed just five hits all spring, and has punched out 41 batters over that span.

Hurston Waldrep, OF/RHP, Thomasville, 2020
Hurston Waldrep has a loud week from both the mound and batter’s box for Thomasville against Brooks County last week. He went 4-for-4 with two triples, four RBIs, and a stolen base. He also tacked on five innings from the bump and allowed no runs on two hits, two walks, and he struck out 10 in that time.

Preston Welchel, OF, Cartersville, 2019
The No. 4-ranked GA Power 25 squad, Cartersville, began regional play last week and went 3-0, with a two-game sweep of LaGrange and a win over Central. Senior outfielder and South Alabama commit Preston Welchel powered the offense by going 7-for-8 with two doubles and a home run, including a two-run homer to walk off the Grangers, 2-1. He tallied four RBIs and five runs total during the 3-0 week, helping Cartersville maintain its status on the rankings.

Gavin Wright, RHP, Lakeside-Evans, 2022
Freshman righty Gavin Wright threw a no-hitter on Friday night against Grovetown in a game in which he wasn’t even scheduled to pitch. It was a spot, emergency start for Wright who obviously took full advantage in the rubber match of a three-game set. He walked only three and struck out seven of the 25 he faced, helping secure a clutch win for Lakeside-Evans.