The recent warmer temperatures had a Spring feel so it was only fitting that the 2020 college baseball and softball seasons got underway this past weekend for some of our local athletes from Bartow County. But don’t let the weather fool you. Basketball season continues as we roll into February and local players continue to shine on hardwood floors across the country and a pair of locals made marks with their track and field teams at indoor meets.
BASEBALL Levi Ayers (Georgia Highlands So., Cartersville) — Ayers allowed four runs but none were earned in two-thirds of an inning Saturday in a 9-7 win over Chattanooga State. Ayers had two strikeouts, allowing two hits and a walk in his first action of the 2020 season. Clifton Dempsey (Toccoa Falls Sr., Cartersville) — Dempsey got off to a scorching hot start to his 2020 campaign, racking up seven hits across his first three games. The senior shortstop started off the season with two hits and two walks in a 16-5 loss to Truett McConnell Tuesday. His team bounced back to sweep a Saturday doubleheader with Johnson 11-9 and 13-4. In the opening win, Dempsey finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs. In the second, Dempsey, who hit leadoff all three games, went 3-for-5 with three runs scored. Carrington Evans (Augusta Jr., Cartersville) — Evans had a hit or a run scored in each of his team's first three games of the season. Unfortunately for Augusta, those all wound up being defeats — none of which actually ended in nine innings. Evans was 0-for-4 in Friday's opener, an 11-1, eight-inning loss to Alabama-Huntsville. He finished 2-for-5 with a run Saturday, but UAH rallied for a 3-1 win in 10 innings. In Saturday's finale, Evans ended up 0-for-3 but did cross the plate in a 9-4 defeat in seven innings. Lane Griffith (West Georgia Sr., Adairsville) — Griffith had a solid first game at the dish, but he went 0-for-2 in the final two tilts of West Georgia's season-opening series against Eckerd this past weekend. In a 12-5 win in Saturday's opener, Griffith was 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored. West Georgia won the nightcap 6-4 but dropped Sunday's finale 11-1. Harrison Osborn (Point Jr., Cartersville) — Osborn pitched four solid innings to help Point finish off a sweep of Pikeville to open the year. Pitching in his home county with the series being played at LakePoint, Osborn limited Pikeville to two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk on 54 pitches. He was replaced to begin the top of the fifth with Point leading 7-2 in an eventual 7-3 win. Cohen Wilbanks (Lee Fr., Cartersville) — Wilbanks made his collegiate debut in the series finale of Lee's opening set of games Sunday versus Urbana. Wilbanks came on as a defensive replacement, catching the last inning of a 15-7 win, which capped off a three-game sweep.
Elijah Robinson (Atenas Cordoba, Argentina; Excel Christian) — Robinson paced his team with 17 points in a 101-76 loss to Obras Thursday. Atenas rebounded to earn an 83-75 win over Hispano Sunday. In the victory, Robinson narrowly missed a double-double, securing 10 rebounds but totaling just nine points.
Jacquez Fountain (Albany Tech Fr., Cass) — Fountain finished with a team-high 17 points, but his team fell 79-62 to South Georgia Wednesday. He added two rebounds and an assist in the defeat. Saturday, Albany Tech bounced back with a victory over Southern Crescent Tech. Fountain again led the way with 22 points to go with seven rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block.
Ashton Hagans (Kentucky So., Cartersville native) — Hagans chipped in with 12 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals in a midweek victory over Vanderbilt. However, he struggled Saturday in a matchup with Auburn, finishing with five points, three assists and six turnovers in a road loss.
Whitney Harris (Toccoa Falls So., Woodland) — Harris had nine points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals across three games this past week, as her team went 1-2. Harris had her best performance Friday at Judson College, where she scored seven points with six rebounds in a 68-67 overtime win.
Evan Lee (Northland Fr., Excel Christian) — Lee played nine minutes but scored five points and had one assist in a 96-84 loss to Central Lakes Wednesday.
Kimora McClinic (Middle Georgia State Jr., Cartersville) — McClinic finished with three points and an assist in a 74-57 win over Blue Mountain Thursday. She was scoreless, though, in a 65-60 loss to eighth-ranked Bethel Saturday.
Coriana McDaniel (Andrew Fr., Adairsville) — McDaniel had one rebound apiece in her team's two games this week — a 61-42 win over Southern Crescent Tech and a 60-32 loss to Georgia Highlands College.
Kyla Michienzi (Piedmont R-Fr., Cass) — Piedmont had just one game this past week, a 73-42 romp past Agnes Scott. In the win, Michienzi had four points, three steals and an assist.
Jana Morning (Berry Jr., Cass) — Morning struggled with her shot Friday against Rhodes, hitting just 3 of 16 field-goal attempts, but she still produced a solid final line of 12 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals in a 64-58 loss. She bounced back in a big way Sunday, finishing 8-for-10 from the floor en route to 19 points in an 88-65 win over Hendrix. Morning added six assists, two rebounds and two steals in the victory.
Josie Summerville (North Park So., Adairsville) — Summerville totaled 11 points and 15 rebounds, as North Park split its two games this past week. She had 10 boards in a 77-64 win over Illinois Wesleyan but fouled out of a 63-59 loss to North Central.
Darius Thrower (Truett McConnell Sr., Excel Christian) — Thrower put together two of his best performances of the season this week, but he still couldn't help the unlucky Bears from their 15th and 16th consecutive losses. Thrower had 17 points and five rebounds against Tennessee Wesleyan Thursday, and he finished with 16 points and three boards versus Montreat. He shot a combined 11-for-24 from the field and 9-for-17 from 3-point range across both games.
Alexis Ware (Piedmont Fr., Cass) — Ware posted two points and two rebounds in Tuesday's straight-forward victory.
Nakiyah Washington (Piedmont Fr., Adairsville) — Washington saw just eight minutes against Agnes Scott, but she filled up the scoresheet in the abbreviated stint. She had six points, three steals, two rebounds and two assists.
Carrod Watson (North Georgia Sr., Woodland) — Watson managed just one rebound in six minutes against Young Harris Thursday, but North Georgia eked out an 89-88 win. He had two points, three rebounds, an assist and a block in an 83-76 loss to Aiken Saturday.
Paris Poston (Columbus State So., Cartersville) — It wasn't a great opening weekend for Poston or her team, as she went 1-for-10 at the plate and the Cougars dropped their first four games — two each to Lenoir-Rhyne and Catawba. TRACK AND FIELD Terry Berdin (Reinhardt So., Cartersville) — Berdin finished seventh in the men's 200-meter dash with a time of 23.49 seconds Saturday at the Tiger Indoor Invitational in Sewanee, Tennessee. Parker Breedlove (Reinhardt Fr., Cartersville) — Breedlove placed fifth in the men's 3000-meter run at the Tiger Indoor Invitational, finishing in just over 10 minutes. Report contributed by Nicholas Sullivan, The Daily Tribune News