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Gwinnett grads: Columbus State baseball thrives on recruiting in

Gwinnett County

Columbus State assistant baseball coach Patrick Collins went to South Gwinnett, so it's no surprise he puts some recruiting emphasis on the Gwinnett area.

And he doesn't exactly have to twist head coach Greg Appleton's arm.

Both coaches know the county's baseball talent well, and they've used a lineup full of Gwinnett players to build a 38-10 record this season. Among the key players in the team's lineup are Parkview grads Billy Howard, Kurt McKee, David Brown and Jarrett Coker along with Shiloh grad Jonnie Geiger.

"It's not only something I'm proud of, it's where I'm from and it's who I know," Collins said of the coaches' pipeline to Gwinnett. "It's definitely a great spot for me (to find players). It's been great for me at Gardner-Webb, Young Harris and here."

Howard, Brown and McKee are all seniors and former Parkview teammates. They're also three of their team's top four hitters.

Howard leads Columbus with a .376 batting average along with three home runs, 35 RBIs and 16 doubles. McKee is hitting .348 (third on the team) with three homers and 24 RBIs and Brown is right behind with a .345 average, four homers and 30 RBIs.

Geiger sets up the Parkview sluggers with his ability to move around the basepaths, having stolen 27 of 34 bases this season. The junior's hitting .296 with 16 RBIs.

Coker, just a sophomore, leads Columbus pitchers with an 8-1 record in 11 appearances, all starts. He also has a team-best three complete games, a 2.50 ERA and 67 strikeouts (with just 18 walks) in 681⁄3 innings.

SOFTBALL

Minton rolling at Chipola

Grayson grad Brittany Minton is having an exceptional year at Chipola College, a junior college in

Florida.

The sophomore, who has signed with Florida Southern for her final two seasons, has a 15-1 pitching record with 120 strikeouts in 113 innings. Her ERA is just 0.80 for a team that is 38-5-1 and ranked first nationally among junior colleges.

TRACK AND FIELD

Locals excel for Georgia Southern

Collins Hill grad Nicole Brown and Brookwood grads Monique Pitts and Abby Bloom had exceptional meets for Georgia Southern in last weekend's Coastal Carolina Chanticleer Classic.

Brown competed in two events for the first time this season and won both, the triple jump at 41 feet, 10 inches and the 200-meter run at 24.16 seconds.

Pitts was second in the discus at 142-8 and took fifth in the hammer throw at 157-7, a personal best by 7-6 and the third-longest throw in school history.

Bloom was second in the 1,500 with a career-best time of 5:02.04 and added a fourth-place run in the 800.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.