Augusta Christian is chasing their third consecutive baseball state championship. Head coach Craig Johnson certainly has had some talent, but he has also done one heck of a job with the Lions program during the past couple of seasons.
Playing baseball in talent-rich Columbia County can be tough. If you lose, you hear about it. Even if you win, you are often unfairly compared to the great Columbia County teams of the past.
Augusta Christian won titles in 1996 and 1999 playing in the Georgia Independent Schools Association. However, their second state crown was overshadowed a bit by Greenbrier, which captured their third consecutive title that year, in the third year the school had been open, under coaching legend Terry Holder.
Once again, while the Lions were in the process of locking down their second straight SCISA state title last season, Greenbrier stole many of the headlines. The 'Pack went 35-1 and captured the Class AAAA state championship in dominating fashion. Greenbrier also finished ranked in virtually every national prep poll.
Once again this spring Greenbrier is making another run at a state crown. However, I have a feeling this season if the Lions can lock down a title of their own, they will get plenty of attention.
Augusta Christian will join Harlem, Evans and Greenbrier on a very special list. A state championship in 2007 would give the Lions their third title in a row. Harlem achieved this feat from 1981-83, Evans reached the mark from 1988-90 and Greenbrier won titles from 1997-99.
This would be Augusta Christian's fifth championship overall. That would tie them with Evans for second on the all-time county list. Here is a list of the past state baseball championships.
Harlem - Seven state titles (1974, '78, '79, '81, '82, '83, '86)
Evans - Five state titles (1988, '89, '90, '93, '94)
Greenbrier - Four state titles (1997, '98, '99, 2006)
Augusta Christian - Four state titles (1996, '99, 2005, '06)
This season Harlem, Evans, Greenbrier and Augusta Christian have a chance to add to this impressive list.
The Lions are just two wins away from a three-peat. Folks, we get spoiled here in Columbia County with all the baseball talent. Often we look past the achievements of ACS because they are a private school. However, they add to the great tradition this county has established on the diamond. And I, for one, hope this group will get their due - three-peat or not.
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