TIFTON -- Despite suffering a painful shoulder injury early in the season, Tift County High's Blake Wright was able to put together some impressive numbers for the Blue Devils baseball team.
His .500 batting average was the close to the league's highest and earned him a spot as an infielder on the Region 1-AAAAA All-Region team.
Wright was joined on the first team by the versatile Justin Deberry and hard-hitting Luke Gordon. Deberry was the named to an outfield position while Gordon was named first team designated hitter.
"That's great that all three made it," said Smith adding that all three seniors have been varsity players since the ninth grade.
All three Blue Devil seniors have signed college scholarships to continue their playing careers. Wright will attend Darton in the fall while Deberry stays closer to home attending Abraham Baldwin College. Earlier this year Gordon signed a grant-in-aide to attend Georgia Southern University.
The Blue Devils had one other player named to the second team. Junior pitcher Matt Shurley's bat got the attention of the area coaches and sports writers as he was named the second team designated hitter.
After injuring his shoulder while swinging the bat against Lowndes, Wright was fitted with a special brace that restricted the movement of his left arm and shoulder.
"Since he couldn't pull it, Blake had to learn how to hit to the opposite field," said Smith. "It made him a better hitter."
In addition to the high batting average, Wright also had an on-base percentage of .579 and scored 22 runs. He was solid infielder and as a pitcher compiled a 4-2 record striking out 62 batters in just under 52 innings.
Throughout his career, Deberry proved himself to be a dependable utility player as he pitched, caught and played in the outfield. He could also be counted on to get a timely hit when needed.
"Deberry was our MVP," said Smith. "Whenever he got on we were stealing because he was always wide open.
Gordon, a four-time all-region selection, always brought a big bat to the plate. His .414 batting average included six doubles and eight home runs.
Shurley added three home runs and three doubles as he batted .329.
The recently AAAAA state champion Colquitt County Packers dominated the selection process as four Packers were named to the first team. They are Player of the Year Aaron Eubanks, catcher Max DeMott, infielder Will Southwell and infielder Cody Green.
Eubanks, a pitcher, finished the year with an 8-2 record. His season included five shut-outs and throwing a no-hitter against Tift County. At the plate Eubanks batted .380 and had five home runs.
Packer coach Jerry Croft shares Coach of the Year honors with Lee County's Rob Williams who was a long-time assistant to Croft.
The Lee Trojans named pitcher Gray Jones to the first team along with outfielder Jack Stripling. Lowndes had two first team selections in infielder Brandon Ponder and outfielder Yancey Hartman.
The second team selections included Coffee's pitchers Jim McElroy and Brandon McMillan, catcher Ricky Hutchinson, infielder Randy Drew and outfielder Kendrick James. Colquitt's sure-handed Issac Jackson was the lone Packer on the second team. Named from Lee were infielder Buster Posey, pitcher Jason Weaver and outfielder Brett Denney. Outfielder Will Thompson and infielder Jim Latourneau were selected from Lowndes.
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SYLVESTER [mdash]Nettie Mae Scarbrough Pope, 85, of Sylvester passed away Monday at Tift Regional Medical Center. Among her survivors are her daughters, Martha Rutherford and Beth Young. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Bowen-Donaldson Home for Funerals.