Though Wyatt Brown's first fall with South Carolina-Aiken's baseball team was pretty rough, he didn't worry too much about it.
It's the way his fall seasons have gone for as long as the North Gwinnett product can remember.
"I didn't pitch that great, but it happens every fall," Brown said of the fall of 2011. "Growing up, I probably only had three great falls in my 18 years of playing baseball, so it doesn't faze me. I know spring time is when it counts."
Brown, in his first season after two seasons of junior college play at Middle Georgia, has shaken off the fall nicely.
The 6-foot-2 right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.77 ERA in his first four USC-Aiken starts. In 23 innings, he has 21 strikeouts to only four walks.
He beat Georgia College and State University in his most recent start last Saturday, going seven innings and allowing one earned run. He struck out nine batters and walked just one.
"It's been going really well," Brown said. "I'm pitching really well. I just hope it stays the same."
Brown was a reliever his freshman season at Middle Georgia, but returned to his preferred role as a sophomore starter at the JUCO. He had an 8-2 record and a 1.95 ERA in those two seasons, and his solid work has transferred over to the four-year level.
Between both of his schools, he said he's improved greatly from his high school form.
"I think people will notice my mentality is a lot better now than in high school," Brown said. "I handle things a lot better. When bad things happen, my stats haven't gotten worse. It doesn't get to me as much."
So far this season, the bad things have been few and far between.
Heffley powers upset of UGA
A local product, Ross Heffley had a nice homecoming Wednesday night.
The Western Carolina second baseman's big game offensively powered the Catamounts to a 5-3 win over Georgia, the nation's eighth-ranked team. It was the Bulldogs' first loss of the season.
Heffley, a Brookwood grad, was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. He hit the game's only home run for a 2-1 lead and tied the score 3-3 in the fifth with an RBI single.
Pratt off to good start for Young Harris
Young Harris is off to a 14-4 start, in part because of exceptional pitching from Dacula grad Oliver Pratt.
The sophomore right-hander pitched 3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts Tuesday in an 11-10 victory over North Greenville. The pitching victory was his third of the season.
Pratt also has a save and a 2.02 ERA this season.
Jones named SAC's player of the year
Norcross grad Denzail Jones, a junior for Anderson University (S.C.), was selected as the South Atlantic Conference player of the year on Thursday.
The 5-foot-9 guard averaged a team-high 15.7 points as Anderson finished the regular season with a 22-4 mark (17-1 in conference play). He also led the SAC in steals, ranked eighth in scoring, sixth in assists and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Wiedeman named all-conference
College of Charleston sophomore Trent Wiedeman was named to the All-Southern Conference third team this week by the league's media.
The Greater Atlanta Christian grad averaged 11.8 points and 8.8 rebounds (second in the conference) overall, and 12.8 points and 9.6 boards in conference play.
Wiedeman scored 19 points Friday but the Cougars still lost their SoCon Tourney opener to Appalachian State.
Hartry gets all-conference spot
Valdosta State guard Sczeny Hartry, a senior from Parkview, made the All-Gulf South Conference team on Wednesday.
A second-team selection, she averages 11.3 points this season and leads the conference in 3-pointers made (53) and is third in 3-point shooting percentage (39.3).
Higginbotham named Gulf South's top freshman
Brookwood grad Thomas Higginbotham became the first West Georgia player to earn Gulf South Conference Freshman of the Year when the league honored him this week.
The point guard has 82 assists and ranks second in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio. He also averaged 4.9 points for a team that had a 21-7 record in the regular season.
Irizarry joins GWU coaching staff
Former Greater Atlanta Christian standout Danny Irizarry has joined the George Washington University men's soccer program as an assistant coach.
Irizarry played college soccer at Ohio State, where he competed in the College Cup and the national title game in 2007, and also earned a cap with Puerto Rico's full national team when he was on the roster for three 2010 World Cup qualifying matches.
Irizarry was a graduate assistant at Georgia Southern last year before being hired by GWU.
O'Brien qualifies for meet
Georgia's Darcie O'Brien, a freshman from Grayson, qualified for the Zone B Diving Championships with her performance at last weekend's Bulldog Last Chance Meet.
O'Brien upped her platform score to 229.70 and also boosted her 1-meter score to 261.50.
"I felt pretty confident on the tower, so I was ready for it," O'Brien said. "It got down to the last dive, so it was really exciting. It's awesome and I'm really excited to be going to Zones."
Allen takes third straight
Hebron grad Nicole Allen won her third straight all-around title last Sunday, but Ball State still suffered a team loss at Western Michigan.
Allen's winning all-around score was 39.00. She won the beam (9.675), was third on vault (9.875), fourth on bars (9.7) and fourth on floor (9.75).
She previously won the all-around titles in meets with Eastern Michigan and Michigan State.TENNIS
Georgia State rallyFormer Parkview standout Thomas Cook won a clutch match Wednesday night as Georgia State rallied past South Carolina State.
Cook won a 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (13-11) over Dmytro Kovalevych at No. 2 singles in the last match to finish. The Panthers (8-2) trailed 3-1 before rallying back.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.