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Jefferson Davis High School

Raiders recognize athletic excellence at awards ceremony

 

By Justin Driggers

Special Correspondent

 

BlackvilleJefferson Davis Academy recently held its winter/spring athletic awards ceremony and players from across five different sports were recognized.

Beginning on the hardwood, the junior varsity girls basketball team honored three JDA athletes. Cate Polston was named the Best Offensive Player while Emma Craig took home the award for Most Improved. The Raider Award was given to Ansley Grace Still.

For varsity, Anna Beth Morgan received the Best Offensive Player award while Karrie Atkins was named the Best Defensive Player. Bethany Stokes took home the Raider Award.

On the boys side, the junior varsity Offensive Most Valuable Player honor went to Donte Payne while Tony Hernandez was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player. Patrick Abbott received recognition as the Most Improved player while the Coaches Award was given to Hunter Owens.

Chance Morris took home top honors as the varsity squad’s MVP. Noah Darnell received the award for Most Improved while Adam Gee went home with the Coaches Award.

Jefferson Davis Academy fielded an Equestrian team for the first time this past season and three riders took home inaugural awards. The MVP honor was given to Gylian Googe while the Sportsmanship award went to Anna Haskins. Stacey Newsome walked away with the Coaches Award.

The Raiders’ sporting clays program handed out a pair of awards. Carson Wiles was honored as the squad’s Top Shooter while the Coaches Award went to Anna Beth Morgan.

Four honors were received for junior varsity softball excellence. The Offensive MVP was given to Caitlyn Banks while Gylian Googe was the recipient of the Defensive MVP honor. Emma Craig earned the nod for Most Improved and Ansley Grace Still took home the Coaches Award.

The varsity softball squad also had a quartet of honorees. Kiersten Phillips and Becca Fogle earned the awards for Offensive and Defensive MVPs, respectively. Anna Beth Morgan was the recipient of the Miss Raider award and Abby Seigler was named Most Improved.

Switching to baseball, Donte Payne was given the Offensive MVP award for the JDA junior varsity team. Nick Darnell took home the award as Defensive MVP and the Golden Arm Award went to Tony Hernandez.

On the varsity side, Dalton Beasley and Wyatt Brant walked away with Offensive and Defensive MVP honors, respectively. Jeremy Davis was named Most Improved and the Golden Arm Award was given to Adam Gee.

Finally, Erin Weeks was the recipient of a special honor as she was given the 2018 Kathy Love Ott Cheerleading Award.

 

Jefferson Davis Academy baseball finishes season with first-round loss in state playoffs

 

By Justin Driggers

Special Correspondent

 

Blackville – Pitching and defense were strengths coming into the baseball season and they held firm all the through Jefferson Davis Academy’s season, coach Matt Lightsey said.

Unfortunately the hitting dipped after spring break. The Raiders, who were 9-2 at the time, wound up 12-8 overall and finished third in the region.

Still, JDA managed to push Richard Winn Academy to a decisive third game in the opening round of the SCISA Class playoffs before its season ended.

“I had seven seniors and six of those were starters,” Lightsey said. “So I knew we were going to be pretty good. The pitching and defense held up all year, but the bottom just kind of fell out on the hitting at the end.”

It was a very talented group of seniors, too – as evidenced by the fact that five of them will play at the collegiate level next year. That talent was prevalent on the pitching staff with seniors occupying the top three spots in the Raiders’ rotation.

“I’ve had that same group of guys throwing since their (sophomore) years,” Lightsey said. “So I’ve seen them develop over the past three years and how good of ballplayers they were.”

Adam Gee led the rotation with a 6-1 overall record and 93 strikeouts. He was followed by Dalton Beasley who wound up 4-2 and Blake Renew who finished the year at 2-0.

All three were also key contributors at the plate and in the field. Beasley led the team with a .513 batting average with 31 runs driven in while playing first base. Renew hit .312 and collected 12 RBI at second while Gee hit .308 with about 10 RBI and played error-free baseball at shortstop the entire season.

The offense was also led by leadoff man and catcher Wyatt Brant, another senior. He batted .380 with 21 runs batted in and swiped 26 bags. He finished with a .987 fielding percentage behind the dish.

Junior Lance Ray provided clutch hits for the Raiders while playing third and junior Jeremy Davis served as the designated hitter for the majority of the season.

In the outfield, seniors Noah Darnell and Kyle Renew played left field and center field, respectively, while junior Tyler Renew was in right.  Kyle Renew batted around .280 with 13 RBI and a homer and Tyler Renew also homered and drove in eight.

Junior Jimmy Bozard provided JDA with a super-utility man. He took over at short or second base whenever Gee or Blake Renew pitched. He also manned center field and played pretty much every position but catcher, Lightsey said. He batted .260 with an on-base percentage of more than .500 while drawing 26 free passes.

Patrick Madura, another senior, played some at third base and made the most of his appearances by batting near .400. Sophomore Mitchell Webster also saw time in the outfield.

 

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