With all Georgia public schools ordered closed through the end of March by Gov. Brian Kemp, and most private schools closed as well, spring sports around the state are on hold amid the coronavirus epidemic.
The Barrow County School System announced Tuesday, March 17, that it was closing schools and canceling all extra-curricular activities until after spring break and was tentatively planning to reopen schools April 13. The Georgia High School Association had already announced it was postponing the state literary meet and recommending that school systems suspend spring sports activities until further notice. The Georgia Independent School Association took actions along similar lines and all Bethlehem Christian Academy sports are suspended until further notice. The school is closed through March 29, but officials had not announced any updates to that schedule as off press time.
After the Barrow County School System’s announcement on the evening of Thursday, March 12, Friday’s soccer matches between Winder-Barrow and Apalachee high schools at R. Harold Harrison Stadium were the only high school sports contests played in the county. Apalachee’s baseball team was scheduled to host Bethlehem Christian for senior night on Friday, March 13, but that game was canceled when BCA administration opted to not have the team compete.
The Rocky’s Pizza Invitational track and field meet scheduled for Saturday, March 14, at Apalachee, was postponed. AHS coach David Seawright said it has been tentatively rescheduled for April 13.
Apalachee athletic director Ralph Neeley said that each of the six schools in GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA would like to meet at some point to discuss how they would proceed with scheduling should schools be re-opened. But no meeting has been set, Neeley said Monday, as the schools were waiting for the GHSA to provide further guidance. The GHSA issued a statement Tuesday, reiterating that the school closures would extend to athletics, which means all games, practices and other activities. Another statement from the organization said GHSA offices were closed this week and a decision about further suspension of activities would be made by the end of the week.
The closures have delayed the start of the region baseball schedule for Apalachee and Winder-Barrow. The Wildcats were supposed to begin a three-game series against Habersham Central on Monday, while the Bulldoggs were supposed to open a three-game series with Dacula. Apalachee and Winder-Barrow were also scheduled to face each other in a three-game series next week.
The Wildcats were 8-3 overall at the end of action last week and were coming off a 4-0 win over Oconee County at home on March 11. Manning West threw a three-hit, complete-game shutout, allowing just two walks and striking out 10.
AJ Forbing went 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI single that came in a three-run third for the Wildcats. Hunter Parks went 1-for-2 with a walk and a pair of RBIs while Colby Sikes went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Winder-Barrow (11-4) fell 2-0 to Peachtree Ridge on March 12 at Coolray Field. The Lions, who lost two previous contests this season against the Bulldoggs got runs in the top of the first and second innings and then relied on Thomas LeMaster, who tossed a five-hit shutout with no walks and struck out five.
Blake Friend was 1-for-3 with a double to lead the Bulldoggs. Brady House, Dre Lewis, Carlos Urbina and Micah Scarborough all hit safely.
Meanwhile, BCA improved to 3-3 with an 8-4 home win over Gatewood on Thursday, overcoming six errors in the field. Bryce Peppers went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Mattox Harden, Dylan Day, Ethan Gutas, Conner Hilton, Dalton Garmon and Drew Stiles all hit safely.
The Knights jumped out to an early lead with four runs in the bottom of the first and rolled from there. Hilton pitched 5 2/3 innings to get the win, allowing three unearned runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Payton McFadyen worked the final 1 1/3 innings in relief for the save, allowing an unearned run on one hit and striking out two.
TRACK AND FIELD: WBHS boys win home meet
The Winder-Barrow boys won a home quad meet Thursday, March 12 finishing with 102 points over Prince Avenue Christian (49), Dacula (44) and North Oconee (38).
The Bulldoggs got wins from Emorrie Foskey in the shot put and discus; Brian Susana in the 200-meter dash; Emarion Johnson in the 800-meter run; Christopher Parada-Rubio in the 1,600-meter run; Antonio Bishop in the 110-meter hurdles; the 4x100-meter relay team of Carson Jackson, Brett Landis, Zack Price and Aiden Smith; the 4x400-meter relay team of Gavin Frederickson, Landis, Smith and Joshua Ionashku; Daniel Bennett in the pole vault; and Luke Doolittle in the triple jump.
In the girls’ portion of the meet, Winder-Barrow finished third overall with 52.5 points — behind North Oconee (98.5) and Dacula (54).
Rebekah Freeman led the Lady Bulldoggs, winning both the shot put and discus. Nivea Campbell won the 400-meter dash; Matilee Rogers won the 1,600-meter run; Keonna Hamler won the 300-meter hurdles; and Brianna Bailey won the pole vault.