2009-06-03 / Sports

Spartan's record season ends

By Tres Bragg tresbragg@bellsouth.net

After winning their region and posting the best baseball record in school history, the Spartans fell one series short of advancing to the state championship.

Their bid for a state title was not helped by multiple rain delays, road trip fatigue and a graduation ceremony in the midst of it all. The Spartans made the nearly four hour trip to Tiftarea only to be turned around after three days of steady rain last week. The three-game series was rescheduled for the day after Edmund Burke's commencement ceremony.

"We just weren't mentally ready," head coach Aaron Phillips said. "Not to take anything away from Tiftarea, but we did have several obstacles to overcome."

Edmund Burke never found a steady rhythm on the diamond and dropped the first two games of the series, 10-0 and 15-7 to the Panthers, who went on to win the state championship.

"I'm really proud of the guys," Phillips said. "We exceeded all of our expectations for the year and achieved our overall goal of making it to the final four."

For seniors Hamp Wade, Jamie Smith and Jordan Ansley, the final four appearance will be something they'll always remember.

"We're really going to miss each of these guys next year," Phillips said. "They each brought something special to our team."

Wade was an offensively explosive player who posted a .480 batting average and led the team in homeruns for the past two years. He hit 11 this season alone, including several multiple homerun games. Phillips noted Wade's ability to lead by example and praised him for stepping up as a vocal leader during his senior year.

Phillips described Smith as a "very versatile player" who can play any position. "He gives one-hundred percent all the time and has had a solid batting average all four years of high school," Phillips said.

Ansley was known for his hard work on the diamond and his constant effort to improve in all aspects of the game. "His clutch hits are going to be missed," Phillips said. "He came through and rose to the occasion just about every time we needed a hit."

The Spartans, who ended the season 18-6, 8-2 will return the majority of their starters, including both starting pitchers, Brandon Sharpe and Matt Cowart.

When asked about defending their region championship, Phillips seemed hopeful. "It's definitely not out of the question," he said. "We have so many players coming back and a lot of new talent coming up. We're going to give it everything we have."

Return to top