Baseball: Kennesaw Mountain wins 1st of 7 games this week

Fourth-ranked Kennesaw Mountain (17-5, 9-2) took first place in Region 4-AAAAAA on Monday with a 9-2 victory over Harrison (14-8, 8-3), but even with five days left in the season, it’s far from over.

Rainouts have given the Mustangs a schedule that looks like this:

Monday – Harrison (W 9-2)

Tuesday – at North Paulding (doubleheader)

Wednesday – McEachern

Thursday – at Harrison

Friday – at McEachern

Saturday – North Paulding

In Monday’s game, Kennesaw Mountain scored eight runs in the first three innings. Hampton Clark drove in three of those runs with two hits, one a triple. Tyler Stephenson hit a home run.

Stephenson, a catcher, has signed with Georgia Tech. He’s one of five Division 1 signees on the team. The others are pitchers Ryley Gilliam and Zach Goodman (both Clemson), third baseman Cole Buffington (Citadel), outfielder Reggie Pruitt (Vanderbilt).

Lambert re-takes control of Region 6-AAAAAA

Defending Class AAAAAA Lambert hasn’t quite lived up to expectations this season, but Monday’s 16-3 victory over West Forsyth is a sign that it’s not too late.

The game matched the frontrunners in Region 6-AAAAAA, and Lambert (15-5, 11-1) put up 14 hits and won its eighth straight game. West Forsyth fell to 15-7, 13-3. (For more on the game, read Brian Paglia’s story in the Forsyth News.) The two teams meet again Thursday.

Lambert returned most of its starters from its championship team and started No. 1 in some preseason national rankings. Five losses have quieted talk of a national title, but the Longhorns are still considered the state’s most talented team.

Seth Beer, the AJC’s state player of the year in 2014, is having another big season. He’s batting .538 with six home runs and is 3-1 on the mound with a 1.80 ERA. Also over .400 are J.D. Dutka (.446, 4 HR) and Will Dunavant (.404). Six different Lambert pitchers have at least two victories.

Lovett closes in on Region 6-AA title

Lovett is in the driver’s seat in Region 6-AA after a 7-2 victory last week over fourth-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian. Lovett is 18-3 overall, 10-1 in region play. Lovett will play No. 1-ranked Wesleyan (18-3, 8-1) at Lovett on Thursday, probably for the championship. Lovett must also be careful for Pace Academy on Tuesday and Holy Innocents’ on Friday.

Lovett, the Class AA champion in 2013, returned only three full-time starters from the 2014 team that made the quarterfinals. The pitching (1.92 ERA) has been outstanding. Clark Sanderson and Aaron Schunk (committed to Georgia) have nine wins between them, and reliever Andrew Duncan has four wins and two saves.

The team is hitting .337 led by sophomore left fielder Brady Tindall (.483). Other strong bats belong to shortstop/pitcher Schunk (.421), designated hitter Will Geraghty (.354) and second baseman Hardy Jackson (.349).

“The biggest thing is we have 12 seniors,’’ coach Lance Oubs said. “On a daily basis, we run eight or nine seniors on the field. That’s been huge. We’ve gotten really good leadership.’’

Wesleyan’s Jones, hitting will be a test

Wesleyan (18-3, 8-1) is led by outfielder Jahmai Jones, a potential first-round pick in the June MLB Draft. Jones is hitting .472 (25-of-53) with four home runs, 10 doubles and 23 stolen bases. Wesleyan is hitting .352 as a team, and every regular is batting .295 or better. The team’s ace pitcher is Andrew Sauer (0.62 ERA, 40 strikeouts in 33.2 innings).

Decatur playing well in Cardoza’s final season

Decatur (17-7), ranked eighth in Class AAA, is having one of its best seasons in the past 20 years under coach Carlos Cardoza, who is in his final season. Cardoza, who is taking a job in the Texas Rangers’ farm system in Latin America, has the Bulldogs in third place in Region 6-AAA behind No. 1 Blessed Trinity and No. 6 Westminster. Decatur senior Zak Schulman, a pitcher/first baseman who is committed to Georgia College, is 5-1 with a 1.92 ERA and has thrown two no-hitters. He is also hitting .448. Left fielder Luke Baumgardner is batting .411. Senior pitcher Holden Galatas is 6-2 with a 2.89 ERA. Senior pitcher Jacob Jordan has been injured most of the season, but is re-joining the rotation in time for the state playoffs.

Westside, Barnes going strong after 40 seasons

Gerald Barnes, in his 40th season at Westside of Augusta, appears headed for a region title. The Patriots are 17-2 overall, 6-0 in Region 3-AAA with two games this week against second-place Washington County (12-8, 7-2). Left-handed pitcher Johnathan Jahn, who is committed to South Carolina, struck out 18 against Washington County in a game earlier this season. He had 14 strikeouts in a state-playoff game last season against Jeff Davis. He’s been clocked at around 90 mph. Also worth noting are four-year starting shortstop Mason Dodd, who has signed with Lander, and Aaron Gonzaluz, a pitcher an outfielder who has signed with Andrew College. Dodd is batting over .500, and Gonzaluz is batting .420.

Lakeside coach gets 250th career victory

Lakeside-DeKalb coach Bill Newsome got his 250th career victory as a head coach during a three-game sweep of Rockdale County last week. No. 250 came in a 15-0 victory in the second game of a double-header. The opener was more exciting. Drew Hinton hit a two-run double in the top of the seventh inning for a 4-2 lead that stood up. Senior Cole Chisholm pitched a complete game, allowing four hits and one earned run. In the first game, Charlie Ludwick was the winning pitcher and went 2-for-2 with three RBI.