The calendar still reads January, but Brian Smith is already thinking of spring and another run in the state playoffs.

The veteran Winder-Barrow High School baseball coach said everyone involved with the program is excited about the upcoming 2020 season. Official preseason practice began Monday, Jan. 15.

“I am very excited about our mindset about being successful again this year,” Smith said.

One aspect about the offseason which has the coach happy about the direction of the program has been the work of the rising players.

“We have been able to work with our eighth graders twice a week,” Smith said. “It is very important to get them involved with our strength program and to get them accustomed to what takes place at this level. You have to have the right mental approach as well as physical approach.”

While the younger players still have time to adjust and learn, Smith said it is good to see they already are on the right path.

Several Diamond Doggs players took part in fall league and travel team play.

“We probably had more players than ever competing in the fall,” Smith said. “We have also been working with them on different drills. Everything is positive right now as we get ready for practice.”

The only negative to this point has been an ACL injury by senior Hunter Marsh. Following surgery last month, Marsh is recovering and could possibly be back with the team in mid-April.

“We have to be very careful with him,” Smith said. “Of course they do wonders with this surgery now but we want him completely healthy before he is back on the field.”

Marsh has committed to play for Chattahoochee Valley Community College, a destination for many former Diamond Doggs.

WBHS will play a preseason scrimmage on Saturday, Feb. 8, against Grayson before opening the new season Friday, Feb. 14, at Loganville High School.

“We like to play as many tough opponents as we can early,” Smith said. “That’s how we prepare for our region schedule.”

The Diamond Doggs are coming off another state playoff appearance in 2019 and will have a 15-game region schedule in 2020.

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