Brandon Miller's prep notebook: Beane picks Huntingdon for baseball
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Nov 20, 2013 | 1741 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oxford High shortstop Dakota Beane announced his intention to play baseball at NCAA Division III Huntingdon on Tuesday. He gave a long list of reasons he chose the Hawks, but he ended with, “There’s nothing to not love.”

“It all really stood out to me,” Beane said. “I like how the coaches handle things. Coach (D.J. Conville) really reached out to me, talked to me about things, said they could really use me this year and it sounds great to me. They have a great academic program, as well.”

Conville extended an offer Beane’s way about a month ago after the Oxford senior went to the Montgomery private school for a showcase. All Conville saw was Beane fielding groundballs and he wanted him.

“He saw me diving all over the place and said he liked how I played the game,” Beane said.

Oxford coach Wes Brooks said he thinks Beane will have the same role in college as high school — batting leadoff. Brooks added it’s possible for Beane to hit second or also ninth as a second lead-off hitter.

Along with being excited to hit the field for Huntingdon, Beane said he is first excited to get his degree, and plans to major in exercise science and be a physical therapist. He carries a 4.0 grade point average at Oxford and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Before the senior graduates from Oxford, he has another year of baseball for the Yellow Jackets and will start the 2014 season with a nine-game hitting streak.

“It’s great to get this out of the way and focus on my senior season,” he said. “We’ve got a lot to look forward to and are hoping to make it back to the same place we made it to in 2012. We’ve definitely got the talent.”

THOMAS’ LEGACY: Racean Thomas isn’t the first superstar to come through Oxford, but the Auburn commitment’s legacy is one that will linger for years.

After the Yellow Jackets fell to Bob Jones 28-24 in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs, Thomas finished his senior season with 2,211 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns, despite being limited by injuries through the first four games.

During his four years at Oxford, Thomas rushed for 6,169 yards and 82 touchdowns. He added nine more touchdowns returning kicks and catching passes. He also threw a touchdown pass his junior year.

Along with rushing for more than 6,000 yards, Thomas recorded 708 receiving yards, and 343 yards in returns, averaging 36 yards a punt return in his high school career.

HARDCASTLE’S 3-POINTERS: White Plains guard Tyler Hardcastle knows how to start the season.

Hardcastle scored a team-high 28 points in the Wildcats’ 63-56 win over Faith Christian on Tuesday, including nine 3-pointers.

Of his nine 3-point baskets, Hardcastle hit his first seven attempts before missing his eighth. He also made one of two foul shots, which caused White Plains coach Chris Randall to joke that Hardcastle was too close to the basket to hit both.

White Plains fans will have to wait half a week for a possible second act from Hardcastle. White Plains returns to the court Monday against Jacksonville.

LYLES’ MILESTONE: On Friday night, Clay Central’s Jaylon Lyles became the first Volunteer to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

The program is only two years old but both seasons have been a success, going 10-2 and making the second round last year and posting 10-2 so far this year and advancing to this week’s quarterfinals.

Last season, then-senior Tyrone Cosby led the team in rushing with 1,177 yards.

Lyles’ 2,055 yards comes along with 16 touchdowns on 277 rushes. He is averaging 7.4 yards a carry.

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.
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