Kevin Price commentary: News and notes about Celebration of Sports Excellence, Columbus State and Columbus High baseball

kprice@ledger-enquirer.comMay 15, 2011 

The date for the 2011 Celebration of Sports Excellence has been set for Wednesday, June 8.

Once again this year, it will be hosted by the Hughston Foundation.

The invitation-only event honors the Ledger-Enquirer’s All-Bi-City player and coach of the year in each sport.

The dinner will start at 6 p.m., with the program to start at 6:45 p.m.

The CSE is being sponsored by the Hughston Clinic and Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital.

CSU awaits NCAA berth

The Columbus State baseball team will find out tonight after 10 p.m. whether it has been invited to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.

The six-team fields for eight regionals will be announced tonight.

There are three automatic bids for the Southeast Regional: North Carolina-Pembroke won the Peach Belt Conference, Mount Olive won the Conference of the Carolinas, and Wingate won the South Atlantic Conference.

The NCAA looks will look at several teams for the three at-large bids.

In the regional rankings released Wednesday, Mount Olive was first, followed by Francis Marion, UNC-Pembroke, CSU, Catawba, Georgia College, Armstrong Atlantic State and North Georgia.

Unless, the NCAA does something off the wall -- and it has been known to do just that -- Francis Marion, CSU and Catawba should receive the at-large bids.

CSU didn’t do itself any favors by going two-and-out in the Peach Belt tournament at Golden Park.

The Southeast Regional likely will begin Friday. The site for the regional will be announced tonight as well.

Columbus at home

Columbus High will be at home for as long as it is in the Georgia High School Association Class AAA state playoffs.

The Blue Devils needed three games to oust Ringgold in the second round earlier this week after dropping Game 1.

Kyle Carter hit three homers in Game 3 to lead Columbus to the state quarterfinals, where it will host West Laurens. That series begins with a doubleheader Tuesday. The if-necessary game would be Wednesday.

If Columbus beats West Laurens, it would host the Allatoona-Thomson winner in the semifinals.

If the Blue Devils make it to the finals, a meeting with rival Cartersville is possible. Cartersville’s quarterfinal opponent is Spalding. The other two teams on that side of the bracket are Mary Persons and Woodward Academy.

Magical pattern

There is something about the second year of the past few decades that have been good for local baseball teams.

Since 1971, when Jordan won a state championship, this area has had at least one school win a title in the year ending with a 1.

Brookstone and Glenwood won in 1981, followed by Columbus in ’91 and Shaw in ’01. That has continued this year, with the Gators winning a state title.

Kevin Price, 706-320-4493

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