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Rookie Wilkerson, Greenville try to keep season alive

Shannon Wilkerson's first professional season was extended into mid-September. But it will come to an end tonight if Greenville doesn't win to stay alive in the South Atlantic League championship series.

The best-of-five playoff moves to South Carolina after Lakewood won twice in New Jersey despite Wilkerson's solid hitting.

The Dacula graduate and former Augusta State standout was 3-for-8 with a double as Greenville lost 6-3 and 3-0 in the two games at Lakewood. If the Drive can stave off elimination, the Class A series would continue Friday and Saturday in Greenville.

Wilkerson, a right-handed hitting outfielder, was an eighth-round draft choice by the Boston Red Sox in June and played with Lowell of the short-season Class A New York-Penn League before being promoted to the full-season South Atlantic League.

The 21-year-old hit .264 with 15 extra-base hits in 31 games for Lowell and .241 with 11 extra-base hits in 29 regular-season games for Greenville. He had just two homers, but slugged 17 doubles and seven triples while driving in 23 runs.

Greenville, the second-half champ in the South Division, swept Asheville in a best-of-three semifinal series to earn the right to play Lakewood, a Philadelphia farm team.

Wilkerson, who was named the NCAA Division II player of the year after hitting .441 and slugging 24 home runs as a junior this spring for Augusta State, was drafted by the Red Sox two rounds ahead of Parkview outfielder Brandon Jacobs.

Jacobs lasted until the 10th round because of signing concerns, but Boston got him to skip a football scholarship with a $750,000 bonus that was the biggest in the draft for anyone taken after the early rounds.

The 18-year-old didn't sign until mid-August and got to play in just eight games for the Red Sox team in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He batted .250.

Right-handed pitcher Daniel Sarisky from Duluth was the only other drafted player from Gwinnett County to sign this year. The former Oglethorpe University standout was taken in the 40th round by Houston and made 22 appearances as a reliever.

Sarisky, 21, was 2-1 with a 4.73 ERA in 10 games for Greeneville in the rookie Appalachian League and 0-0 with a 3.27 ERA in 12 appearances for Tri-City in the New York-Penn League.

Parkview graduate Jarrett Coker wasn't drafted despite being an NCAA Division II All-American at Columbus State, but signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox. The right-handed pitcher won in his first appearance for Great Falls in the rookie Pioneer League and finished 3-2 with a 5.32 ERA in eight games. The 22-year-old made two starts.

Here is a look at how some minor league players from Gwinnett County did this season:

Charlie Blackmon

Position: OF

Team: Modesto (high A)

Organization: Rockies

Age: 23

HS: North Gwinnett

Stats: He batted .307 with 34 doubles, seven triples, seven homers, 69 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 133 games. The former Georgia Tech standout hit .338 in 2008 for Tri-Cities in the low Class A Northwest League.

Anthony Carter

Position: RHP

Team: Winston-Salem (high A)

Organization: White Sox

Age: 23

HS: Parkview

Stats: He was 11-7 with a 4.36 ERA in 27 starts, finishing one off the Carolina League lead in victories. Drafted out of Georgia Perimeter College in 2005, he was 11-7 with a 3.99 ERA in 2008 for Winston-Salem and Kannapolis.

Stephen Dodson

Position: RHP

Team: Asheville (A)

Organization: Rockies

Age: 24

HS: Wesleyan

Stats: Was 7-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 25 relief appearances, striking out 43 and walking 14 in 40 1/3 innings. The former Georgia pitcher was drafted in the 18th round last year, but didn't pitch until this season.

K.D. Kang

Position: OF

Team: Bowling Green (low A)

Organization: Rays

Age: 21

HS: Parkview

Stats: The native of South Korea hit .307 with 29 doubles, seven triples, five homers and 42 RBIs in 89 games. The 15th-round draft-pick in 2006 played in the All-Star Futures Game at St. Louis in July.

Nathan Moreau

Position: LHP

Team: Delmarva (low A)

Organization: Orioles

Age: 22

HS: Parkview

Stats: The 11-round pick out of Georgia in 2008 missed the month of June, but was 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA in 20 starts. He struck out 95 and walked 43 in 87 1/3 innings.

Colin McHugh

Position: RHP

Team: Brooklyn (short-season A)

Organization: Mets

Age: 22

HS: Providence

Update: The former Berry College standout was 8-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 14 games, finishing one off the league lead in victories. He struck out 79 and walked 21 in 75 innings.

Jeremie Tice

Position: 3B

Team: Lake County (low A)

Organization: Indians

Age: 22

HS: Dacula

Stats: Former College of Charleston standout was limited to 65 games because of a sore elbow and hit .268 with 16 doubles, a triple, three homers and 30 RBIs. He was a sixth-round pick in 2008.

Blake Wood

Position: RHP

Team: NW Arkansas (AA)

Organization: Royals

Age: 24

HS: North Gwinnett

Stats: The former Georgia Tech standout was bothered by elbow problems and spent time on the disabled list, going 2-8 with a 5.83 ERA in 17 games. He went into the season ranked as the Royals 10th-best prospect.