With the preliminaries now out of the way, the Winder-Barrow High School baseball team will begin the task of vying for the Region 8-AAAAA title.
The Bulldoggs, who were 4-1 entering this week, will travel to Gainesville High School Friday for the first region game of 2013. The teams will meet again Monday in Winder. Both contests are set for a 5:55 p.m. start.
“We have been getting better,” WBHS coach Brian Smith said Sunday as his team practiced. “We have been facing good competition and that makes us better. There are still some things we need to do better. We have been able to use different pitchers to this point and that should benefit us down the road.”
The Diamond Doggs lost a three-game weekend in Augusta last month due to the weather and Smith said he wished his team could have played those games. A doubleheader following the region slate of games against Tift County High School has been added. The games will be played at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville and will help give Bulldogg players more exposure to college scouts.
At hand, however, is the opening of the Region 8-AAAAA schedule. Gainesville was undefeated going into this week. The Red Elephants moved up from AAA where they were undefeated in the regular season on their way to a 32-2 record.
With other region foes such as defending state champion Loganville on the schedule, along with contenders such as Heritage, Salem and Flowery Branch, Smith knows a challenge awaits his team.
“This year the region is probably stronger than ever,” the WBHS coach said. “When you look at the number of players who will be playing in college and the number who have a chance to be drafted, this is an extremely tough region top to bottom. Several years ago, three of the teams in the Final Four were from our region. I think you could see that again this spring.”