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Simmons, Taylor selected to elite Team Georgia
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    Statesboro’s Crawford Simmons and Zack Taylor have been chosen — and the call came from Oklahoma.
    The two junior Blue Devils have been selected to Team Georgia, joining 18 more juniors from across the state to represent Georgia at the Sunbelt Classic in McAlester, Okla., on June 6-11.
    Simmons and Taylor will face teams from Maryland, California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Tennessee, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Mississippi, Missouri and Canada.
    “I got really excited,” said Taylor when he recalled hearing the news. “I was really happy to hear that information.”
    Simmons echoed his teammate.
    “I was very excited about this,” he said.
    Names like J.D. Drew, Brian McCann, Jeff Francoeur and Macay McBride can be found on rosters from years past. Portal’s Brooks Brown was a member of the senior team in 2003.
    The tournament consistently features some of the top prospects in prep baseball. Scouts from every major college program and every professional team will be present.
    “It’s going to be a great experience,” said Simmons. “There’s going to be nothing but awesome players out there.”
    Simmons will mostly pitch, adding he won’t try and do anything different than he normally does in a regular game.
    “I’m just going to throw,” he said.
    Taylor agreed that the pitchers he’ll face will be nothing like he’s used to seeing.
    “I’m a little nervous,” said Taylor. “But when it all comes down to it you just have to go out have fun and play. My approach will be the same.”
    Simmons, a lefty, finished the year 8-2, striking out 108 in 691⁄3 innings. He allowed just 24 hits and seven earned runs with a stifling ERA of 0.70.
    Taylor, an outfielder who hits from the left side of the plate, came on strong at the end of the year to lead his club with a .444 average. He also led the team with four home runs, hit 16 doubles and drove in 25 runs with a .589 slugging percentage.
    Both Simmons and Taylor were nominated by the SHS coach Chris Bishop and his assistants who suggest players each and every year.
    Team Georgia will play 10 games in six days in McAlester High School and Eastern Oklahoma State College.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.