Gwinnett Grads: Speed Show

The fastpitch softball fans in Tuscaloosa, Ala., are used to seeing Brittany Rogers' skills all the time. Fans in Athens get that treat this weekend when Rogers' Alabama team visits the Georgia Bulldogs for three games.

A 2 p.m. doubleheader today kicks off the series, followed by a 2 p.m. single game on Sunday.

On display will be the powerful Crimson Tide, 47-4 and ranked first nationally despite seeing a 26-game winning streak end earlier this week, and Rogers, a Dacula grad who is one of the nation's most dangerous offensive players.

The speedster, a finalist for national player of the year, leads Alabama with a .448 batting average and has 18 RBIs. She has scored a team-high 63 runs, fueled by her .503 on-base percentage.

She has a whopping 52 stolen bases in 57 attempts.

Those numbers for the No. 1 team has spurred the player of the year talk.

"I try not to think about (the postseason awards)," Rogers said. "I definitely appreciate all the attention and people tell me when those things come out. But I'm not in it for myself. I'm in it for my team.

"Honestly, I'm just trying to do my job. I'm just trying to get better as the season goes along."

Alabama's season has gone just as well as Rogers' individual campaign. The Tide are among a short list of serious national title contenders, but first they finish the regular season in Athens, hoping to gain momentum going into the SEC Tournament.

"At the beginning of the season we decided we weren't going to worry about stats, standings or rankings," Rogers said. "We were going to focus on one game at a time. If you focus on those things, the other things will take care of themselves."


Wiggins gets SEC honor

Shiloh grad and Georgia standout Megan Wiggins was named the SEC Freshman of the Week earlier this week.

Wiggins led the Bulldogs to a 5-0 mark last week by hitting .611 (11-for-18) with five extra-base hits, including two home runs. She also had 10 RBIs and scored seven runs.

The freshman leads Georgia in batting average (.340), at-bats (191), hits (65), triples (5), RBIs (44), total bases (101) and slugging percentage (.529).

Taylor picked for Big 12 award

Missouri freshman Rhea Taylor, a Peachtree Ridge grad, was selected as last week's Big 12 Conference Player of the Week after a standout week that included breaking a 20-year-old school stolen base record.

Taylor was 9-for-13 (.692 batting average) to earn the honor and broke the stolen base record with her 48th of the season.

She leads Missouri with a .413 batting average and has 51 stolen bases (tying a Big 12 record) in 54 attempts this season. She also has 16 RBIs and has scored a team-high 58 runs.

SoCon honors Side, Iduate

The Southern Conference honored Jenny Side, a South Gwinnett grad, as its player of the week on Monday, and named Norcross grad Nina Iduate as its player of the month later in the week. The two are teammates at Georgia Southern.

Side, a catcher, had nine hits and 10 RBIs in four games the previous week, racking up two home runs and two doubles for a 1.063 slugging percentage.

She tied a school record with five hits in a game vs. Savannah State.

Iduate, an outfielder, hit .490 last month with 11 RBIs and a .536 on-bases percentage.


Shaft ties school hits record

Parkview grad Barrett Shaft tied the Western Carolina record for career hits in a Wednesday night game against Gardner-Webb. The hit was his 311th.

Shaft also broke another school career record in the game, getting hit by his Western Carolina-best 42nd pitch.

GSAC honors three locals

Three Gwinnett grads - Piedmont College's Justin Oates and Corey Lindsey and LaGrange College's Cory Matticola - were selected to the All-Great South Athletic Conference team.

Oates, a senior shortstop who went to Shiloh, is hitting .299 with 29 RBIs for the GSAC champions while Lindsey, a sophomore catcher and a Grayson grad, is hitting .406 with 20 RBIs and 20 stolen bases (in 21 attempts). Lindsey also was an all-academic team selection.

Matticola, a Central Gwinnett grad, made the All-GSAC team as a designated hitter. He has a .393 batting average with two home runs and 58 RBIs.

Bolian, Coor shine at Emory

Mill Creek grad Jeremy Bolian and Brookwood grad Elliott Coor, both freshmen, have made major impacts on Emory University's baseball team, which is 25-11-1 and ranked 29th nationally in Division III.

Bolian, a catcher, hit .625 with RBIs last week, including a bases loaded, two-out double against Oglethorpe. He also was 3-for-4 against Division II North Georgia, raising his average 64 points over the last six games to .267. He also has 16 RBIs.

Coor is 3-0 as a pitcher with a 3.44 ERA in seven appearances, six as a starter. He is working to come back from a broken jaw suffered recently when he was hit by a line drive.

Gwinnett grads star at CVCC

Three former Gwinnett standouts have fared well as Chattahoochee Valley Community College (Ala.) sophomores and have signed with four-year colleges.

Shiloh grad Antonio Callaway, who is headed to Georgia State, is hitting .379 (second on the team) with 43 RBIs and a .532 slugging percentage. He also has a team-high 28 stolen bases in 29 attempts.

Parkview grad Tristan Farrell, an Alabama-Birmingham signee, has the team's third-highest batting average at .346 with 45 RBIs. He also is 6-3 with a 3.13 ERA as a pitcher.

Brookwood grad Wes Adkins, who will play for Columbus State, has a .344 batting average and leads CVCC with 16 home runs (also first in the conference and a school record) and 61 RBIs. Thirty of his 55 hits are for extra bases.


Clark named GCSU's top athlete

Collins Hill grad Aaron Clark was named the Senior Male Athlete of the Year at Georgia College and State University last Sunday. Clark finished his basketball career as the only player to be ranked among the school's top-10 career leaders in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.


Byrne honored for fortitude

Georgia College and State University named Collins Hill grad Mary Byrne as her college's Comeback Player of the Year, an award that includes nominees from all sports.

Byrne is recovering from a 2006 auto accident that broke her ankle in three places and required 11 screws and a plate to be inserted into the ankle. Despite the setback, Byrne played last season with the GCSU women's soccer team.

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.