Could Hillgrove finish atop Region 4AAAAA?
by Greg Oshust
goshust@mdjonline.com
February 27, 2011 12:00 AM | 1416 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While Harrison is certainly seeking to repeat as Class AAAAA state champions, the Hoyas are also looking to achieve one thing that escaped them during last year's state championship season - win their region title.

The runner-up in 5AAAAA to Etowah last year, Harrison will try to vault to the top of Region 4AAAAA in 2011.

It won't come easy for Harrison (29-9 in 2010) as it competes in a challenging Region 4AAAAA that includes formidable teams like North Cobb, Hillgrove and Kennesaw Mountain.

Harrison coach Mark Elkins believes Hillgrove especially is a team to watch in the region this year.

"I feel like that Hillgrove is probably the team to beat," Elkins said. "They have a bunch of seniors on that team, a lot of experience on that team. There is a lot of quality teams in our region, so that will be a big challenge for us."

While Harrison does have some holes to fill with the loss of some key players from last year's state title team, the Hoyas have a strong core returning with senior outfielder Michael Hodorowski, junior shortstop Matt Gonzalez, senior outfielder Matthew Allen and junior third baseman Zack Bowers leading the way.

"We do have some key players returning, but I think their role will be very different," Elkins said. "Our biggest question will be the pitching staff. We had three guys who have graduated who are playing in college, so we need to fill some holes in our pitching staff."

Hillgrove (24-6) faces the challenge of moving up from Class AAAA, but the Hawks have the talent to make a serious run for the 4AAAAA title

Senior third baseman/catcher Ryan Raper, a Kennesaw State signee, returns for the Hawks, along with senior catcher Michael Adkins, a Middle Tennessee State signee, senior outfielder Justin Motley and senior pitcher Ben Lumsden.

North Cobb (20-11) enters the season with a solid senior core, though the Warriors will have a lot of holes to fill in the pitching rotation after losing several senior pitchers to graduation.

The Warriors will rely on staff ace Keith Pachmeyer, an 11-game winner last year, to lead the way on the mound

"We did lose some quality pitchers," North Cobb coach Tom Callahan said. "It was a senior-laden pitching staff. Keith Pachmeyer had 11 wins last year and if he can even approach that, it would help us a lot."

Shortstop Joey Cecere, outfielder Max Mason, second baseman Billy Elliott and relief pitcher Avery Cross are the key seniors for the Warriors.

Kennesaw Mountain (15-13) enters the season with a little bit of uncertainty with several new players in the lineup.

KMHS coach George Hansen is confident that his team will be successful again once the newcomers get settled into the lineup.

"This team is very talented, very blue collar," Hansen said. "We have quite a few new faces and it's going to take a little while to figure things out, but once we do, we will be a good baseball team."

Junior Joe Marlow will be the ace of the pitching staff and play first base, while Kennesaw Mountain will also rely on the senior leadership of centerfielder and Mercer signee C.J. Reed, leftfielder and Air Force signee Conner Betbeze, second baseman Tyler Brookins, third baseman Houston Arther and relief pitcher Hunter Harris.

South Cobb (15-11) faces a big challenge as it enters play in 4AAAAA with a roster consisting of 15 freshmen and sophomores and a team lacking in depth.

However, the future looks bright for the Eagles as they come into the season with what coach Mark Collins calls the best freshman class he has ever had during his tenure at the school.

Senior pitcher/catcher Mark Collins, senior shortstop/pitcher Zach Williams, sophomore pitcher/third baseman Avery Williams and senior first baseman/pitcher Avery Anderson will lead the way for South Cobb.

Pebblebrook (11-13-1) faces the daunting challenge of playing in a much tougher Region 4AAAAA with a large number of newcomers in the lineup, but the Falcons are helped by a solid core of seniors who will be around to guide the younger players.

McEachern (2-23) and Campbell (2-24) will both try to rise up in the 4AAAAA standings this season.
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the cobb knob
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February 28, 2011
Harrison will finish on top of the region. We're the defending state champs and ranked #2 in the state in the coaches preseason poll. There's no need to be modest. Back to back STATE CHAMPS!!!

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