Sports Columns

July 29, 2013

Chris Whitfield: Harper earns national honor

Southeast Whitfield High School senior Rhett Harper has been a mainstay in the area’s sporting world as a three-sport athlete for the Raiders who has been gaining top accolades since his freshman year.

This summer — on one of the biggest stages of the summer-league baseball — Harper has earned one of the highest accolades given in tournament baseball.

Harper, who plays in the prestigious East Cobb Baseball League for the East Cobb Longhorns, was selected to the All-Tournament team of the Perfect Game BCS Finals held July 13-19 at Terry Park in Fort Meyers, Fla.

In addition to baseball, Harper also plays football and basketball for the Raiders. He is coming off of a challenging junior campaign, tearing his ACL in the final subregion game of the year against Dalton. He has been a member of The Daily Citizen’s All-Area football team in each of his years in high school.

The injury caused him to miss all of the basketball season and baseball season — save for the final two games of the baseball schedule as a pinch hitter. In his first game back from injury, he drove in the game-winning run.

But apparently his rehab has been going well, and he was strong enough to be in top form on the mound.

In the tournament, Harper pitched six innings, allowing two hits, striking out five and not giving up a run.

• Robinson family grieves: The high school football world of fans and coaches is a close-knit one in this area with most fans rooting for their rival teams when their team isn’t playing the other.

Northwest Whitfield coach Josh Robinson has been a fixture in coaching circles around the area for years, growing up here and working various roles. I haven’t known Josh for very long, but he and his wife Jennifer are good people to know. Jennifer played softball with my wife, and she also works in the same office with my mother-in-law.

On Saturday, Josh’s father Kenneth passed away. Our condolences to the entire Robinson family.

• DHS alums wearing Red and Black: After four years of wearing the red of the Dalton Catamounts, Cole Calfee and B.J. Rowland will keep wearing red as managers this fall for the University of Georgia.

Calfee was a three-year starter at quarterback for coach Matt Land, and Rowland was a standout lineman, earning a spot on the 2012 All-Area football team. Now, they will soon head to Athens and will be roaming a new set of sidelines.

As the college football season gets closer, look for an expanded story on their roles with the Bulldogs.

• Locals seek Open title: The Tilted Kilt Georgia Open presented by the Georgia Professional Golf Association will be played starting today at The Legends course at Chateau Elan.

Chatsworth’s Tyler Mitchell, Dalton’s Matt Hughes and David Knoll Jr., Rocky Face’s Chase Miller and Tunnel Hill’s Justin Jolly will all be competing in the tournament, which lasts through Thursday.

Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Contact him at chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com.

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