Note: This is the second in a series highlighting the local baseball schedules for 2013. Apalachee High School will be previewed in next week’s edition.
The Winder-Barrow High School baseball team has been no stranger to the state playoffs in recent years. Coach Brian Smith hopes to remain on a first name basis with the postseason in 2013.
The Diamond Doggs, who open the new season with a scrimmage Feb. 16, will try to finish in the top four from 8-AAAAA.
The Diamond Doggs return the bulk of their lineup from 2012, losing just one starter to graduation.
Teams in 8-AAAAA will face each other again this spring in back-to-back dates on the schedule.
This year, however, the region is not sub-divived. Teams play a complete region slate with the top four advancing to state.
“To me, that is a secure look at who the best teams are,” Smith said. “There is no unbalance to the schedule.”
All games against 8-AAAAA foes will count toward the region standings.
WBHS began practice last week. The team missed one day of work due to heavy rains which moved into the area Jan. 30.
“Overall, we’ve had decent weather to this point,” Smith said. “It’s always risky this time of year.”
For the Diamond Doggs, the pre-region schedule is similar to what it has been in the past under Smith: very tough. A preseason scrimmage will be Feb. 16 against Grayson, followed by the regular season opener Feb. 20 against Dacula at home. WBHS will venture to Augusta Feb. 22-23 with games against Lakeside, South Effingham and Evans.
Other non-region games will include contests against Madison County, Franklin County and South Forsyth. The first 8-AAAAA game is set for Friday, March 15, against Gainesville.
“We try not to talk too much about the long term goals of a season,” Smith said. “We look at what the task for the day is. We do everything possible to ‘win the day.’ We can’t control what happens a month from now, only what happens today.”
The preseason scrimmage with Grayson will feature two players who could be high draft picks in the Major League Baseball selection process this year. Grayson’s Austin Meadows and Winder-Barrow’s Travis Demeritte are forecast to be selected later this year by pro teams.
Smith said he expects as many as 100 scouts in attendance when the teams meet Saturday, Feb. 16.
“Grayson will be a great test for us,” Smith said. “They are good top to bottom and went deep in the playoffs last year. They are bringing a lot back.”
The Diamond Doggs will meet perennial region and state power Loganville High School in back-to-back 8-AAAAA games April 3 and April 5.