Mercer’s backup catcher is having a heck of a year at shortstop.
And it’s no secret.
Mercer’s Nick DiMauro is one of two A-Sun shortstops and one of 38 nationally on the initial watch list for the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award, presented by the College Baseball Foundation and Mizuno The award was previously given to the national player of the year but now goes to the top college shortstop.
“I don’t know where we’d be without Nick,” Mercer head coach Craig Gibson said. “He has just been so good from the start, at the plate and with the glove.”
DiMauro — who, yes, is also a primary backup to senior catcher Casey Stuart — is in his first year as a full-time starter at the position and making the most of it. He’s tied for 22nd in the conference with a .350 average and has four home runs. The 5-foot-9 junior from Boca Raton, Fla., is fielding at a .944 clip. He hit .304 with a homer in 102 at-bats last season.
He has started every game this season and has been the leadoff batter 33 times. DiMauro is also the second-toughest player in the A-Sun to strike out, whiffing once every 13.3 at-bats.
DiMauro and the Bears return to play on Saturday, after a long break for exams, when they host third-place — and top-seeded — Jacksonville.
BEARS ADD GUARD
Jeff Smith, a 6-2 guard from Wallace State Junior College in Alabama, is the latest signee for the Mercer men’s basketball team.
The Huntsville, Ala., native averaged 13.2 points and 5.8 assists for the Lions, who went 28-5 and reached the Alabama Community College Conference tournament championship for the second straight season.
He had 10 assists in four games and was named to the all-tournament team, as well as second-team all-region.
Smith was part of back-to-back Class 5A state titles at S.R. Butler and was a state player of the year finalist.
GCSU HOSTING REGIONAL
The Centennial Center tennis courts at GCSU will be busy the next few days as the school hosts the NCAA Southeast region men’s tournament.
Limestone faces Lees-McRae at 10 a.m. today in the first match of the tournament, followed by Wingate and Anderson at 2 p.m.
GCSU faces the winner of the first match at 10 a.m. on Saturday, while Columbus State plays the other winner at 2 p.m.
GCSU is 15-3 and ranked second in the region and sixth nationally.
WESLEYAN ATHLETES HONORED
Six Wesleyan softball players earned all-academic citations by the Great South Athletic Conference for the season
Maddie Allsup, Lindsey Ambegia, Dalin Gillis, Lacie King, Dena Phillips and Cheyanne Siebenaler were the Pioneers named by the conference.
Gillis was second on the team in hitting with a .286 average while Phillips hit .276 and Siebenaler .276.
Only Piedmont College placed more student-athletes on the list among the seven GSAC institutions.
BOSTICK PICKED AGAIN
The resume of GCSU outfielder Sherquita Bostick gets more full by the day.
The senior added a second straight selection to the Peach Belt Conference all-tournament team recently.
She belted two homers and a double for a .400 average. The two-time conference player of the year leads GCSU with 12 homers and 11 doubles.
GCSU is in Hickory, N.C. for this weekend’s NCAA Southeast Regional and plays host Lenoir-Rhyne at 4 p.m. on Friday.
FORMER MERCER ASSISTANT HIRED
Jeremy Luther spent almost a decade coaching basketball in Macon, at Windsor and at Mercer.
After two seasons as head coach at Newberry in South Carolina, Luther is back in Georgia as the head coach at Armstrong Atlantic State in Savannah.
Armstrong Atlantic State finished 23-7 last season and 15-5 in the Peach Belt and loses five seniors. Jeff Burkhamer resigned in March to take over at conference member Lander.
Luther was 33-24 in two seasons at Newberry, going 21-8 last season. He was introduced Wednesday at a news conference.
He’s expected to bring his brother-in-law and former Mount de Sales boys head coach Travis Dotterer with him from Newberry.
GCSU’s tennis and golf teams remain ranked in assorted polls.
The men’s tennis team is second in the NCAA Southeast Region, behind Peach Belt rival Armstrong Atlantic State and ahead of three more Peach Belt teams.
The women’s team is sixth in the regional poll, behind five other Peach Belt schools.
The top 10 teams from each region make the NCAA Tournament in May, with three spots taken by conference tournament champions.
And the men’s golf team, competing in the NCAA Southeast/South Super Regional this week, is second nationally for the second straight week.
GCSU has been in every poll this season, and is behind top-ranked Columbus State. Three more Peach Belt teams are in the top 15: No. 5 USC Aiken, No. 13 Lander and No. 15 Clayton State.
Mercer’s softball team is 53rd in the latest NCAA RPI list, moving up five spots in the past two weeks. The Bears are the third team in the state (Georgia is No. 5 and Georgia Tech is No. 19) and second among A-Sun teams, behind No. 27 Florida Gulf Coast and just ahead of No. 55 Lipscomb.