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Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Baseball: Lambert (8-0) is a contender ... ELCA OF rated No. 1 junior ... Newnan rebuilds

Lambert’s baseball program is only 5-years-old, but it appears ready to make a run at a state title this year. The Longhorns (8-0) are the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAAAA.

They’re balanced - hitting .383 with a 1.37 ERA – and they’re young.

Sophomore right fielder/pitcher Seth Beer is 17-for-22 (.773) with four doubles and two home runs. He’s 1-0 as a pitcher with eight strikeouts in 5.1 innings.

Junior third baseman/pitcher J.D. Dutka is 12-for-29 (.414) and six extra-base hits. He’s 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA.

Junior left fielder Jeremy Johnson is 8-for-18 (.444). Also hitting well are sophomore catcher Kyle McCann (.412), junior first baseman Ian Kimbrell (.357) and sophomore center fielder Tucker Maxwell (.350).

Lambert reached the round of 16 last season, losing to eventual champion Milton. The team opens region play in 6-AAAAAA on Monday at North Forsyth.

ELCA outfielder named top junior in nation

Eagle’s Landing Christian center fielder Daz Cameron was named the top junior baseball player in the country this week by MaxPreps. Wesleyan shortstop/outfielder Jahmai Jones was ranked fifth. Those were the only Georgia players in the top 50.

Cameron hit .434 last season with seven home runs and 49 runs scored in 33 games as ELCA won the Class A private-school championship. He’s hitting only .300 this season with two home runs but has missed two games and played two others with the flu, according to ELCA coach Doug Campbell.

“I think he’s as good as they say he is,’’ Campbell said. “You can tell. It’s something you can see when he swings the bat and the way he approaches the game. He’s got it. He’s a five-tool guy, and you just don’t find many of those. He has the speed, the arm, the glove. He has power, and he hits for average.’’

ELCA has won nine straight games since a 4-1 loss to reigning AAAA champion Redan in the opener.

Wesleyan’s Jones batted .484 with nine home runs, 14 doubles and 32 RBI last season. He was an all-state wide receiver as a sophomore but dropped football to focus on baseball. His is the younger brother of former Notre Dame and Gainesville wide receiver T.J. Jones.

Johns Creek 3B/OF off to hot start

Despite a 3-5 start, Johns Creek is a team to watch in Region 6-AAAAAA. Junior third baseman/outfielder Tyler Dupree is 12-for-23 (.522). Senior pitchers Gabe Moore (1.68 ERA, 18 strikeouts in 15 innings) and Charlie Hecht (1.02 ERA, 13 SO in 13 IP) have been dominant. Moore has committed to Kentucky. Hecht has committed to Georgia College and State. Johns Creek has played four Top 10 teams and has a victory over preseason No. 1 Milton. The Gladiators play Loganville on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at CoolRay Field.

Newnan rebuilds in post-Morris era

The torch has passed at Newnan, where Kenny Morris stepped aside after 17 seasons during which the Cougars won five region titles and made a state semifinal appearance in 2010. Marc Gilmore, Morris’ assistant for nine seasons, took over a team that lost 15 seniors and returned only one player that contributed significantly. The team not surprisingly is only 3-8, but there are signs of life. Senior outfielder Justin Groover, who has signed with Piedmont, is batting .407. Sophomore leadoff hitter Brady Barnes is batting .375 with seven runs scored. Senior left-hander Tanner Snellgrove, has a 3.50 ERA and averages eight strikeouts per seven innings. ‘’We are very young and inexperienced, but making strides every day,’’ Gilmore said.

Alcovy pitcher on a roll

Alcovy senior left-hander Dalton Reagin has allowed no runs and only two hits over his last 12 innings while striking out 14. He lost one decision because of four unearned runs and won the other with a complete-game one-hitter against Rockdale County.

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