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Digital Portfolio

Matt Mauney

Reporter, editor and photographer

e-mail: [email protected]

Phone: 404-538-3719

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Page 1 of 2 > NY Mets

Kaplan Remains in Top Form
Matt Mauney

May 26, 2009

SAVANNAH, GA - Right-hander Jeff Kaplan was predominately a reliever during his rookie season in Brooklyn, but his
move to the rotation in Savannah has been a huge success. So far this season, Kaplan is among league leaders in
important categories and has yet to show any sign of slowing down.

Although he was unable to pick up his fifth win in just eight starts Friday night, Savannah ace Jeff Kaplan remains the
best statistical pitcher in the South Atlantic league.

Kaplan pitched five innings for the Sand Gnats Friday against the Bowling Green Hot Rods, where he worked five
innings, allowing just one run on six hits.

Although teammate Reiner Cruz picked up the win with Kaplan receiving the no decision, his performance was good
enough to keep him in first place in the SAL with a 1.23 ERA.

“Kaplan’s a bulldog out there man,” Savannah pitching coach Mark Valdes commented about his ace.

“He pitches tough with guys on base and he’s got a good idea when it comes to how to get batters out. He never keeps
the ball in the same place and that’s always a positive.”

Unrealistic to the rest of his starts in 2009, Kaplan had problems with control against the Hot Rods and struggled to
locate his fastball in his first ever start against Bowling Green. However, as any good pitcher can, he was able to get out
of tough situations time after time and retire the side.

“We preach fastball consistency in this league and keeping the ball down in the zone and Kaplan is normally good at
doing that,” said Valdes.

“We want him and all our pitchers to get quick outs on three or four pitches if possible. Kaplan is good about staying
tough out there and getting the job done when he needs to.”

This composure was most evident in the top of the fourth Friday, when the righ-hander was able to strike out Anthony
Scelfo with the bases loaded, after giving up the first and his only run of the game off of a Jason Tweedy single, scoring
DH Michael McCormick.

In his five innings of work, he was able to strike out four, two of which came against Bowling Green shortstop Tim
Beckham, the number one overall pick in the 2008 draft.

“My game plan is to get hitters out early and not throw a lot of pitches,” said Kaplan.

“It hasn’t worked out that way early in the season. I’ve been throwing only five innings in my last couple of starts because
I was throwing so many pitches,” he continued. “I’ve had one or two starts where I was able to go into the seventh and
that’s what I like. Hopefully I can continue to do that as the season goes on.”

He was able to do just that in one of his best starts this season, when he was able to help his team to a 7-1 win over the
Lexington Legends on May 15, after only giving up one run on six hits in 7 innings pitched.

“The key for me is to throw strikes and getting early outs. Not always strikeouts, but ground ball outs and be able to go
deep into ballgames.”

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6/3/09 1:29 Print This Story

Page 2 of 3

On his coattails of being the best offensive producer on the team is someone that he knows very well from his collegiate
playing days. Ratliff battled it out numerous times in Pac-10 play with now teammate Josh Satin, who came out of the
University of California in the 2008 First Year Player Draft.

Satin ranks third in the SAL with a .346 average and second in the league with an impressive .416 on base percentage.

“Both [Ratliff] and [Satin] have taken a good solid approach to the season and their coming along just fine,” said
Savannah hitting coach Ryan Ellis.

“They both ask a lot of questions about how they can improve and I just tell them to stay within themselves, especially
with two strikes and don’t over think things,” said Ellis. “I tell them to stay focused and disciplined at the plate and just let
things happen and they have so far.”

Outside of the two Cali boys, the Gnats offensive success has came off the bat of first baseman Eric Campbell, who
leads the team with 24 RBI, and Marte and Flores who, despite being only just 17 years old have been continually
working and adjusting to become better all around players.

“Being so young in this league at just 17, it can be tough to handle yourselves at times, but both of those guys are doing
that very well so far,” said Ellis.

“Being so young, plate discipline is always an issue, not just with Marte and Flores but all the players. Strikeouts and
mistakes are going to come, but they both have so much raw talent that I think they will progress nicely in this league.”

On a roster loaded with offensive talent, it might be Savannah’s pitching staff that has been the biggest story to this
juncture in the season.

The Gnats pitchers combine for an ERA of just .288, ranking second in league.

Leading the march are starting pitchers Jeffrey Kaplan (1.15 ERA) and Jeurys Familia (1.24 ERA), who rank second and
third respectfully in the SAL.

Kaplan’s combination of a devastating fastball and strong off speed pitches has allowed him to become the ace of the
club, while teammate Chris Schwinden, who had a good spring and a great start to the 09 season, was sidelined for
around two weeks with fatigue and elbow soreness.

Kaplan leads the Gnats with a 4-1 record, followed by Familia whose 3-2 mark is partly due to excessive walked batters
(17) and lack of run support.

“In this league we preach fastball consistency and keeping off speed pitches down,” said pitching coach Mark Valdes.

Familia, by far has one of the strongest arms on the staff, with the ability to hit 95 and 96 mph consistently with his

“We want are pitchers to maintain both sides of the plate and so far all our pitchers have been doing that. We definitely
would like to see our guys get quick outs on three pitches or less,” said Valdes.

The Gnats bullpen has been led by left-hander Jimmy Johnson, who has played in 14 games for Savannah and has
posted a staggering 0.93 ERA.

What Johnson lacks in speed, he makes up for with a great curveball and slider and a good changeup that continues to
get better.

With Schwinden’s recent return to the staff, the Gnats are in prime position to continue their dominance of opposing

With just over a hundred games remaining, there is still a long way to go for the mid-A Gnats, but with a dominate
pitching staff and a combination of young talent and veteran leadership offensively, Savannah looks to continue one of

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6/3/09 1:29 Print This Story

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their best seasons in recent history.

Story URL:

Copyright © 2009 and

Page 11

6/3/09 2:09 PMFair Provides Help to University Employees

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Fair Provides Help to University Employees
Written by Matt Mauney

Tuesday, 24 March 2009 20:15

In order to inform faculty, staff, and student employees of Georgia

Southern University about upcoming changes in the payroll system, a

Bank Fair and Payroll Direct Deposit Drive will be held Wednesday,

March 25 from 11-2 p.m.

Nearly a dozen local banks will be on hand for university employees that

don’t currently have bank accounts and will be willing to answer any

questions and open new accounts.

For university employees with existing bank accounts, the fair will be an

opportunity to set up a direct deposit, as staff from Human Resources

and the Controller’s division will be available for assistance.

The conversion to ADP will affect all university employees by changing

the method in which payroll payments will be distributed.

The payment methods available will include direct deposit, Visa debit

ADP TotalPay Card, and paper check mailed from the ADP processing


Employees who currently receive paper checks may want to strongly consider setting up a direct deposit as the change will most

likely cause checks to not be received by pay day since they will be mailed.

These changes will take into effect July 1.

After this date, all payroll payments will be made from one of the ADP’s data processing centers located in various states across the


For university employees who already have direct deposit, no action is required, as their banking information will automatically be

converted to the ADP system.

For further coverage and updates of this story please check back to and the George-Anne print editions.

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Page 12

40 • Southern Refl ector Magazine •February 7, 2008

What’s Happening This Weekend
� u. Feb. 7 - Men’s Basketball vs. W. Carolina @ 7:30
Sat. Feb. 9 - Men’s Tennis vs. Jacksonville @ 2:00
Sun. Feb. 10 - Men’s Basketball vs. Chattanooga @ 7:30
Sun. Feb. 10 - Women’s Basketball at Wo� ord @ 4:00

REFLECTOR presents Walter Payton award

winner Jayson
Foster will be hon-
ored at halftime of

tonight’s Basketball


Name Pos Ht. Wt. Hisgh School/JUCO
David Arnold RB 6-0 201 Valdosta
Samair Baker WR 5-7 170 Brandon
Leander Barney QB 5-8 187 Irmo
Nick Bass WR 5-11 200 Northside
Jerome Bibbins OL 6-2 305 Northside
Victor Daniels DB 5-8 182 Ware County
Oliver Davis DB 5-8 160 North Cobb
Dion Dubose LB 6-0 211 Norcross
Daniel Few OL 6-4 269 Grady
Chris Gray* OL 6-5 250 Landrum
Franklin Green RB 5-11 207 Jenkins
Terence Hall* WR 5-7 180 Pace/Highland CC
Derek Heyden DB 6-1 177 Marist
LaVelle Larry RB/DB 6-0 211 Roswell
A.J. McCray DB 5-8 203 Camden County

Fred Moore DL 5-11 291 Co� ee County
Larry Murphy DB 5-10 165 Gibbs
David Noel OL/DL 6-2 289 Monroe
Darell Norman* WR 5-10 195 Lincoln County/UAB
Darrel Pasco* DB 6-0 170 Countryside/GMC
Ricky Ponton* RB 5-11 215 Hillsborough/South FL
Darreion Robinson RB 5-9 185 Clarke Central
Marcus Russ WR 6-1 195 Gibbs
Brent Russell DT 6-2 287 Madison County
J.B. Shippy LB 5-11 205 Ga� ney
K.R. Snipes DB 5-9 175 Opelika
Tyler Summer WR 6-2 212 Savannah Christian
Jamical Tatum OL 5-11 335 Troup
Marc � omas LB 5-10 215 Hillsborough
Roderick Tinsley DE 6-3 236 Truetlen
Adam Urbano RB 5-8 190 Calhoun
Darryl Walker DB 6-2 176 Callaway
Gordon Warnell OL 6-2 273 Pinewood Christian
Demarcus Watts WR 6-0 200 Grady
Tavaris Williams LB 5-11 200 Lowndes County
Markeith Wylie DL 6-0 286 Washington-Wilkes/GMC

2008 Georgia Southern University Recruiting Class
� is is the � rst year the Head Coach Chris

Hatcher had the chance to fully take advantage
of the recruiting process and bring in the best
players available to the team. Last year, a� er being
introduced as the new head coach in late January,
Coach Hatcher had less than two weeks to throw
together a recruiting class.

“I think you can see the amount of players
we got to sign [this year] and the quality there,
not that last year wasn’t, it just wasn’t a very big
class,” said Hatcher. “We started the day a� er sign-
ing day working towards this class and we were
able to evaluate more talent here and be able to
be more selective in the type of players that we
wanted. We didn’t have to rush and I think that
is the biggest thing.”

Coach Hatcher also commented that he hit the
recruiting trail hard and pulled out all the stops
to get the best players available.

“We went out and recruited hard, We didn’t
back down from anyone. You can’t catch a big
� sh unless you go � shin for em. Sometimes you
get em and some times you don’t but we felt like
we got some good players that had some higher
o� ers from larger schools when it was all said and
done, this university sells itself and it really made
our job easier,” Hatcher said.

Coach Hatcher spoke of several players who
he felt were very good recruits with one of the
most interesting being 5’8” 187 pound quarter-
back Leander Barney, who Hatcher felt was the
closest player that compared to Walter Peyton
Award winner Jayson Foster. Barney is a versatile
player who played almost every skill position in
high school.

“Leander is a talent out of Irmo, South Caro-
lina,” Hatcher said. “He is an all purpose player.
We are going to start him as quarterback, there is
no guessing to it. He has a tremendous arm, has
great moves, great vision. He is the closest thing
I saw out there to Jason Foster and I know that
is a hard guy to emulate but he is a tremendous

Many of the players in this years recruiting
class came from right here in the state of Georgia.
Nick Bass from Northside High School in Warner
Robins and Franklin Green from Jenkins High
School in Savannah were among the players
Hatcher spoke of.

“We start right in our own backyard. We want
to sign as many locals as we possibly can. We’d
always like to sign more but it doesn’t always
work out that way but we feel real good about
the ones we got. We’d like to get those guys that
know about the Georgia Southern tradition,”
Hatcher said. “Nick is an excellent receiver who
had a tremendous season last year. Franklin is a
great young man. He felt like this was the right
place for him.”

Another player Coach Hatcher spoke of was
linebacker Tavaris Williams from Lowndes
County. Williams led Georgia 5A high schools
in sacks his senior season and might be a name
to look out for in the future.

� e � nal notable name in this year’s class was
running back Ricky Ponton, who saw legitimate
playing time at South Florida last year before
transferring to GSU this semester.

Eagle Nation will just have to wait and � nd
out how this class will turn out. Year two of the
“Hatch Attack” era is o� cially underway.

“I think all these guys are division 1-A players.
You just have to take the same player that is an
inch or two shorter and 10 pounds lighter. � at
is just what we go a� er,” Hatcher said. +

Shaina Simmons/STAFF
Hatcher speaks about this year’s recruiting class at
Wednsday’s press conference.

matt mauney

* Denotes signee that is currently enrolled

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