It won’t take long for some of the county’s best baseball teams from 2012 to meet when the 2013 Georgia High School Association season begins Monday, Feb. 18.
Last year, Harlem went 20-9, advancing to the second round of the Class AAA state tournament and losing to eventual champion Columbus. The Bulldogs, now in AA, start their season playing AAAAA teams on three consecutive nights.
On Monday, Feb. 18, they play host to Evans, who finished 16-12 and advanced to the second round of the Class AAAA state tournament before losing to eventual champion Loganville.
The Bulldogs travel to Greenbrier the next day to face the Region 2-AAAA champions and Class AAAA state runner-up Wolfpack, who ended with a 31-5 record. The next two days, the Bulldogs travel to Grovetown (13-11), then play host to Aquinas.
“Our first 10 games will tell us what we’re going to get,” said Bulldogs veteran head coach Jimmie Lewis, who noted the team also plays Lakeside, Thomson and Cross Creek early on. “Ain’t like we’ve got no slouches. We’ve got 10 real tough games, which is good. It’ll get us ready for the region. We’re going to play the best in the area, and I don’t know what our record will be, but I know one thing: We’ll see good pitching and we should be ready for the region (3-AA).”
Lewis said he had seven seniors returning and that the pitching staff should be solid.
“We’ve got Chaise Dukes on the mound coming back, who’s a good solid pitcher, and we have Bryson Serigney who’s a good solid pitcher and one of our better hitters,” Lewis said. “We’ve got Aaron Moore who’s a real good shortstop and good hitter and he’ll also do a little pitching. We’ve got a young kid, a sophomore named Alex Thompson, he’s going to help us on the mound.”
The Wolfpack should be the team to beat in Region 2A-AAAAA even though four of the five seniors they lost from a year ago were starters, including region player of the year Jordan Hunt.
“We definitely have some holes to fill, but we feel like we have a good mix of kids to fill it,” said Wolfpack coach Chris Wilkins.
Helping offset the loss of Hunt, who pitched to a 10-1 record, are seniors Austin Robinson (11-1) and Christian Hill (7-2). Wilkins also expects big things from seniors Taylor Glover, Adam Grice and Clint Hardy, among others.
Along with the Evans and Grovetown squads, Lakeside (12-11) completes the new sub-region, which features teams that finished over .500.
It might be a tougher road for the Wolfpack in 2013, but if it’s anything like 2012, Wilkins will take it.
“I wouldn’t trade the journey for a state championship for anything in the world,” he said. “Those kids, just being in those hotels with them and all of us learning life lessons together. Shoot, that was my first time with a shot at a championship. It was special for me, too. Of course you want to get back there, you get that taste in your mouth. Win or lose, we’ve got a really good crop of kids. We all mesh well together.”