Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Middleburg Pitcher/shortstop off to a Hot Start

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Middleburg Pitcher/shortstop off to a Hot Start

Article excerpt

Byline: Brent Beaird, Times-Union correspondent

Despite the cool weather, Middleburg High School shortstop/pitcher Darrell Qualls is hot. Qualls, a senior, is among the area leaders in several hitting statistics such as home runs (3), RBI (12), and doubles (4). He is leading Middleburg in virtually every offensive category including batting average (.459).

"Darrell is hitting the ball outstanding," said Bronco coach Alan Powers. "He is making a name for himself."

As a pitcher, Qualls is 3-1 with a 1.40 earned-run average. Qualls reached a milestone in his Bronco career Tuesday night in a 3-2 win over Bradford County when he broke the Middleburg record for career hits with 120. He was also the winning pitcher in relief.

With numbers like these, professional and college scouts have begun to show interest.

"The [Colorado] Rockies spent the day watching him recently," Powers said. "They were very, very impressed. Santa Fe Community College and some other junior colleges have offered him [scholarships], also. However, I am hoping that he will be drafted high enough that he will have a big decision to make."

As a team, the Broncos (7-3) are batting .276. Other impact hitters are Jerod Burghart (.355), who can play practically any position in the infield; outfielder/pitcher Brian Cameron (.292); second baseman Michael Waldron (.290); and first baseman and lead off hitter Daniel Pearce (.296)

"Daniel is playing great defense," Powers said. "He has probably saved the infielders at least eight runs in the past two weeks."

Besides Qualls, David McMahan (2-0 with a 1.91 ERA) and P.J. Tedford (1-2) are pitching well.

"David has great control with 25 strikeouts and only three walks," Powers said. "P.J. pitched six strong innings in his first start."

In their three losses, the Broncos have lost close games to Ridgeview High (2-1), Keystone Heights High School (9-7) and Baker County (2-0).

"I am happy with our record, but we very easily could have only one loss," the coach said. …

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