Each summer, University of Georgia baseball players scatter to play on teams in amateur baseball leagues throughout America. These teams, leagues and towns are remembrances of a bygone era when thousands of boys played for the love of the game and for the once in a lifetime chance that a big league scout might say, “Hey, kid, a word with ya.”
It’s summer again and baseball fans can nod and say, “That’s how it used to be.”
Rising senior Jared Cheek, the reigning Pitcher of the Week for the Gastonia (N.C.) Grizzlies in the Coastal Plain League (CPL), was named to the CPL Select Team. It will battle the USA Collegiate National Team (CNT) Sunday at the USA Baseball Training Complex in Cary, N.C. Cheek leads the CPL in strikeouts (34) and ranks among the top five in numerous categories including ERA (1.44) and Inning Pitched (25) as he is off to a 3-0 start. He tossed a seven-inning complete game shutout over Forest City in his last outing.
Rising sophomore pitcher Robert Tyler is in camp with the USA Collegiate National Team (CNT), and they will set their final 24-man roster on June 29. Rising sophomore infielder Mike Bell is batting .217 with two home runs and seven RBI in his first 10 games with the Columbia (S.C.) Blowfish of the Coastal Plain League (CPL).
Rising senior third baseman/outfielder Hunter Cole was a 26th round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants earlier this month. While he considers his options, he will play in the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. The signing deadline to turn professional is July 18. Rising sophomore outfielder Stephen Wrenn is batting .385 in seven games for the Bourne Braves in the CCBL.
Rising junior outfielder DJ Smith is the Great Lakes League Hitter of the Week after a torrid start in his first week with the Lima (Ohio) Locos. In his first six games, Smith is batting .357 (10-for-28) with three doubles, a triple and eight RBI.
Rising junior pitchers Ryan Lawlor and David Sosebee are teammates for the Keene (N.H.) Swamp Bats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Lawlor is 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA with 10 strikeouts and two walks in six innings pitched. Sosebee is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched. In the Northwoods League, rising junior catcher Zack Bowers and rising sophomore pitcher Connor Jones are teammates with the Lakeshore Chinooks in Wisconsin. Jones is 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA. In 11.2 innings pitched, he has 11 strikeouts and six walks. Bowers is batting .268 with two home runs and eight RBI in 17 games.
Rising junior pitcher David Gonzalez ranks among the California Collegiate League leaders with 16 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched covering three appearances for the San Luis Obispo Blues. Rising junior Daniel Nichols is batting .250 with one RBI in his first two games with the Harrisonburg (Va.) Turks of the Valley League.
In the New York Collegiate League, rising senior Taylor Hicks and rising junior Austin Wallace are teammates for the Oneonta Outlaws. Hicks has a 1-0 mark with a 0.71 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. Wallace is 0-1 with a 7.14 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched. Rising junior Mike Mancuso is 1-0 with a 3.37 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched for the Newport (R.I.) Gulls in the New England Collegiate League. Rising sophomore pitcher Drew Moody has pitched nine scoreless innings with nine strikeouts for the Windward (Ga.) Braves in the Sun Belt League.
In related Bulldog baseball news, shortstop Nelson Ward will make his professional début tonight with the Pulaski Mariners. Play in the Appalachian League opens Thursday, and the Mariners will have 68 games in the next 71 days. Left-handed pitcher Jarrett Brown signed with the Mariners.
Georgia had two of its signees, pitcher Spencer Adams and outfielder Michael Gettys, opt for the professional ranks after being drafted in the second round. They received a reported $1.3 million signing bonus from their respective clubs. Adams signed with the Chicago White Sox while Gettys went to the San Diego Padres.
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