The In-Side Scoop

Baseball player Joey Side has been tearing things up this year. The Junior Centerfielder leads the Bulldogs in batting with a .367 average. He also ranks 2nd in the SEC with 72 hits. Although his career-best 15-game hit streak was snapped last Sunday vs Florida, he is ready to start a new one. This weekend Georgia hosts SEC East co-leaders South Carolina to Foley Field. First pitch on Friday is slated for 7:00 pm and Joey tells me the team is ready...

Dave McMahon -- After the Florida sweep last weekend, the team is back in the SEC hunt, now with South Carolina coming to visit how big is this series?

Joey Side -- This is a huge weekend! Winning at least 2 of 3 vs South Carolina would be real big. It would be great because we would knock them down some and us back up. I think we are 7th in SEC right now and it would be great if we move up even more.

DM -- Year after year, South Carolina is always near the top of the SEC... what are their strengths?

JS -- They have great power... they are a big home run hitting team. They also play with a lot of confidence. They also have one of the best coaches around in Coach Tanner.

DM -- You've always been a very good hitter, but this season you are hitting even better... what is different about this year?

JS -- The main thing is Coach Sisson. He is the best hitting coach I have seen. He knows it all, he knew it when he coached in the minors and he knows it now. He knows what we do right and wrong and what is expected out of us.

DM -- You've batted 5th this year, you've batting in the leadoff position and now you are batting 2nd... any preferences?

JS -- Wherever they want me to hit, I'll hit there. It was hard batted 5th, because you would bat after Josh Morris and if they walk him you have a lot of extra pressure. Batting 1st was good, but I like 2nd, too. It doesn't change my approach where I am batting.

DM -- Jonathan Wyatt is now batting leadoff... he is very patient at the plate... does he help you out by taking many pitches so you can learn about the pitcher more?

JS -- He is great in seeing pitches. He is a very good leadoff hitter. Maybe that's why I am batting 2nd... He is patient while I might be too aggressive as a leadoff hitter.

DM -- You lead the team in doubles and triples this season, how soon after you hit the ball are you thinking extra bases?

JS -- Out of the box, Coach Sisson has us thinking 2 bases. You never know if the fielder may boot it or overthrow the ball, so I am thinking about 2nd base. Now if I hit the ball in the gap, I think about 3 bases unless Coach Sisson tells me to hold up and I will stop.

DM -- Game after game, you are making great catches in the field, which do you enjoy more: getting an extra base hit or robbing an opponent of an extra base hit?

JS -- I like robbing an opponent especially if there are runners on base. It is really a great feeling if I can take away one or two runs away from the other team.

DM -- Taking you back a little, you played some quarterback at South Gwinnett. Who throws the football better you or your teammate, another high school quarterback Gordon Beckham?

JS -- I have never seen him throw. I have seen Brooks Brown throw. He used to be a high school quarterback, too. He is real good. The baseball team used to play some football games in the offseason, and I play wide receiver in those games. I switched to wide receiver my junior year in high school... I was much better at that.

DM -- Thank you for your time and good luck this weekend and the rest of the season.

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