Only a year ago, Richmond Academy was a Class AAA school in the same region as teams such as Harlem, Butler and Glenn Hills. After region realignment, the Musketeers were bumped to Class AAAA and traded in the Augusta schools as region opponents for Greenbrier, Evans and Lakeside.
That's hard news to swallow for Richmond Academy fans.
"It's like David vs. Goliath," Richmond Academy coach Chris Wilkins said. "We were just getting to the point where we were pretty competitive in AAA."
Richmond Academy is one of two teams that will play all four Columbia County public schools this year. Cross Creek in Augusta also will face Evans, Greenbrier, Harlem and Lakeside.
The only difference is that for Richmond Academy, three of them are region games.
"I'd like to tell you we'll put a team out there who can compete, but to be honest it's hard to say what we're going to be like," Wilkins said. "We're going to be super young."
Despite the youth, Richmond Academy's program has improved dramatically since Wilkins took over two years ago. Before he arrived, the school hadn't seen a winning season in at least 10 years. It made the Region 3-AAA playoffs the past two seasons under Wilkins.
"This is the best group of kids I've had yet. I enjoy coaching them," he said.
The next step is changing the way high school baseball is viewed in Richmond County.
"We're a lot different than the Columbia County teams who have kids playing together since they were 5 and 6 years old," Wilkins said. "At Richmond, these are kids who don't play when they're younger."
Starting on March 20, the Musketeers will face all four Columbia County teams in a span of seven days. Greenbrier will travel to Richmond Academy on March 20, then Harlem will visit March 22. The Musketeers will go to Lakeside the next day, then face Evans at home March 26.
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