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Blackmon off to solid start in minors
North grad batting .286 in Class A league

Charlie Blackmon has picked up right where he left off at Georgia Tech, getting his professional career off to a solid start.

The second-round draft choice of the Colorado Rockies hit .286 in his first 14 games with the Tri-City Dust Devils in the Class A Northwest League.

Blackmon, who turned 22 on Tuesday, had five doubles, a triple and five RBIs. He also had stolen two bases.

The North Gwinnett graduate was a pitcher in college until this spring, when he moved to the outfield with the Yellow Jackets. He hit .396 with eight homers, 45 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.

Blackmon, the 72nd overall draft pick, had his best game as a pro on Monday. He was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs against Boise.

Side red hot after late start

Joey Side, a sixth-round draft choice by Arizona in 2007, is making up for a late start to the season, going 11-for-19 with nine RBIs during a recent six-game stretch for Visalia of the Class A California League.

The former South Gwinnett and Georgia outfielder was hitting .299 in 28 games after starting the year on the disabled list with an abdominal injury. He had a homer and 20 RBIs.

Side, 24, hit .291 for Class A South Bend last season and was a starter in the Midwest League All-Game.

Tice off to good start in debut

Third baseman Jeremie Tice, a sixth-round pick of Cleveland in June, hit .318 in his first 12 games with Mahoning Valley in the Class A New York-Penn League.

The former Dacula and College of Charleston standout had a double, a triple and six RBIs.

Tice, 22, hit .393 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs last season for College of Charleston, winning player of the year honors in the Southern Conference.

Wood hit hard in Class AA

Former North Gwinnett and Georgia Tech standout Blake Wood pitched a shutout in his second Class AA start, but has struggled since with Northwest Arkansas.

The right-hander has a 6.39 ERA in the Texas League, going 1-3 in his seven starts.

Wood, one of Kansas City's top pitching prospects, had a 2.67 ERA in the Class A Carolina League before being promoted. He had 63 strikeouts in 571/3 innings with Wilmington.

Kang productive at the plate

Former Parkview outfield Kyeong Kang, in his second pro season with the Tampa Bay organization, batted .255 in his first 15 games with Hudson Valley in the New York-Penn League.

Kang, 20, had two doubles, a triple and six RBIs. He hit .276 last season with Princeton in the rookie Appalachian League.

McHugh pitching for Kingsport

Former Providence Christian right-hander Collin McHugh, an 18th-round pick off the New York Mets, is pitching for Kingsport in the rookie Appalachian League.

McHugh, 21, had a 6.75 ERA in his first three games, two of which were starts. He played in college at Berry.