In games through April 14, 19 of the 20 best hitters in DeKalb played for South DeKalb schools, including Cedric Scott Hunter of Martin Luther King Jr. High, whose .587 batting average ranked second on the list of players with at least 20 times at bat.
Lithonia High had two players in the top 10 — seniors Michael Glaze at No. 1, batting .611, and Derrick Fox, whose .520 batting average had him in sixth. Chamblee's Ennis Coble (No. 15, .456) was the only Northside player in the top 20.
Hunter, who wears No. 1 and plays centerfield, also led in home runs with 9, is first in hits with 27, and first in runs at 37. On April 13, USA Today named Hunter to its "Dandy Dozen" list of the nation's top high school baseball players.
The honor is nothing new for Hunter. In the past the left-hander has been named to the 2005 Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic Team, the Braves 400 club, and the 2005 DeKalb County Player of the Year. Last year the six-foot-one, 195-pounder hit eight homeruns, had 34 runs batted in (RBI's) and a hitting percentage of .584.
Hunter said he has grown accustomed to all the attention he gets from fans, opposing coaches, teammates and Major League Baseball teams from coast to coast.
"At first it was kind of shaky because I didn't know what to expect," he said. "But now I just box them out and go out there and play my game."
Playing his game — with help from senior Jimmy Dorsey and juniors Willie Slaton and Greg Johnson — has helped lead a young Lions team to a 12-6 record and a shot at repeating as region champs.
First-year baseball coach Reggie Ingram said it's amazing to come to a team with a player like Hunter on it.
"Inheriting a Hunter, that is a dream right there," said Ingram, who coached Chamblee High School and Coffee County High School before coming to MLK. "He is a great player. Everybody does not get a chance to have a player of that caliber."
Cedric started playing at age 7, said his father, Scott.
"I used to work at the stadium [Turner Field] as a ticket taker," Scott Hunter said. "I had been taking him to games there since he was two years old and one day he was in the living room pretending he was pitcher on the mound."
He said he realized Cedric could be pretty good when he was about 12 years old.
With his father's encouragement, his own "love to play," and work with major league trainers, who has trained pro players like John Smoltz, Chipper Jones and Sammy Sosa, Cedric has become one of the most sought-after high school players in the nation, and he's a year away from obtaining his ultimate dream.
"I love everything about baseball," said Hunter, whose favorite player is Minnesota Twins star Tori Hunter. "So, I'm thinking more about the pros for next year."