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Seniors leading DCHS baseball to cusp of state playoffs
mullinax-feature
Nick Mullinax has been the offensive leader of the Tigers this season with a .355 batting average and 29 runs. - photo by Rio White

For the first time since the 2017 season, the DCHS baseball team is in prime position to clinch a state playoff spot, sitting third in Region 7-AAA with a 9-4 record there and a 14-8 mark overall.

The team has had contributions from all ages, but it is the seniors who have helped lead the team to this position from two fifth-placed region finishes with a season cut short due to the pandemic in between.

Now, the six seniors — Andrew Burt, Brandon Cramer, Ryley Moore, Luke Mulberry, Nick Mullinax and Jacob Poss — look to keep the momentum going as the regular season reaches its final stretch.

Last season, Mullinax and Cramer were two of three All-Region selections from the Tigers, and they are both continuing their success this season.

On the mound, Mullinax has been one of the main starting pitchers in coach Dwayne Sapp’s rotation. He has made five starts and thrown 34 strikeouts in just under 34 innings pitched, all while keeping a 3.12 earned run average.

Offensively, he has been a leader as well. He currently leads the team with a .355 batting average and 29 runs, while being tied for first with 22 hits.

Having already committed to Columbia College to further his baseball career, Mullinax looks to close out his DCHS career with a state playoff berth.

“We’re in a good spot right now. Our energy is up,” Mullinax said. “These next few series are big but I feel like our confidence is up where we can push through and make a good run.”

Cramer has also been an offensive force this season, leading the team with 28 runs batted in along with 22 hits and a .310 batting average.

With his consistency at the plate and defensive work at first base, he will continue to play an important role in the team’s efforts moving forward. 

“Overall, our fielding is a lot better, we’ve been hitting the ball more consistently and scoring more runs than last season,” Cramer said. “I feel like we’ve worked pretty hard.”

He plans to continue his baseball career in college and is considering a career path in engineering.

Mulberry has been a rising star on the offense as well as the team’s main catcher this season.

He currently leads the team with four home runs and has also contributed 25 RBI on 20 hits. Mulberry has also been one of the most disciplined players at the plate, with 16 walks and just 15 strikeouts in his 87 plate appearances.

“I feel like this year I’m better at focusing on what I need to do [offensively],” Mulberry said. “Just keeping my head clear when I’m hitting.”

Mulberry plans to go on a two-year mission trip with his church after high school graduation and then plans to attend BYU for his collegiate studies.

Burt has been the man on the hot corner this season, helping give the Tigers a well-rounded defense. His focus on fundamentals and range will be especially important as the team heads into a series against region leaders North Hall next week.

He has also been a regular contributor on offense with 15 hits, 20 runs and 15 walks. Burt believes that many of the younger players will carry on the success the seniors helped forge. 

“They’re one of us,” Burt said. “I think they’ll step up and take that leader role [next year].”

He also mentioned that the team has a good sense of togetherness that has helped them improve as the season has gone along. 

“We’ve got a good bonding [culture] here. This year we’ve really come together,” Burt said. “It’s a great team and I’m glad to be here.”

As for his post-high school life, he plans on going wherever God plans to take him.

Moore and Poss have been two of the relief pitchers for the Tigers this season. Moore has 12 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched while Poss has 11 strikeouts in just over 12 innings pitched.

Both pitchers have been working to improve their pitches throughout the season. Moore has been working to get his two-seam fastball to move in and out, while Poss has been working on his consistency both in game and over time. 

After high school, Moore is considering a welding degree from Lanier Tech while Poss plans to attend UNG and is considering a business degree.

The DCHS baseball team has two more games in a three-game series this week against Gilmer County before wrapping up the regular season with a pair of series against North Hall and Lumpkin County.