The next two weekends will be packed with baseball as Brunswick’s local 6A programs host a handful of high school programs from around the state for back-back-back weekends of all-day baseball.
While today and Saturday are the first official days of the Baseball at the Beach tournament, it’s set to be a smaller- scale weekend compared to the weekend of Feb. 24 and 25. Brunswick will host Friday’s lone game against Mount Paran Christian, a A team from Kennesaw, before a double-header against Dunwoody High School and Camden County. Glynn Academy has Friday off, but will also host a double-header against Prince Avenue Christian and Jenkins County. Even more teams will make the trip next week and Historic Edo Miller Park and Brunswick High School will be venues for multiple out-of-town teams of various classifications around Georgia.
The tournament’s opening weekend will host 10 different schools, including Brunswick, Glynn Academy and Richmond Hill. Camden County and Jenkins County open up the tournament at 4 p.m. today at Edo Miller Field.
The weekend is not only an excursion for some metro- Atlanta area teams, but it’s also an escape from something Golden Isles locals may take for granted: the weather.
“I host them,” Otte said. “I crank the music for them and let them have free range of the field, and their so happy to play in warm weather.”
The season is still in the early going — both programs have only played one regular season game — but coaches expect progress to be made game by game until region play in March, when the game determine state tournament seeding and qualification. The timing of the tournament is opportune, as coaches are experimenting with new pitching staffs and critiquing plate approaches.
Glynn Academy got six strong innings out of starting pitcher Will Bowdoin, who struck out 13 batters in his first start of the season. Red Terrors head coach Greg Roberts has senior arm Alex Colon, who ended the 2016 season with all-region honors, figures to have a slot near the top of the rotation. Otherwise, Roberts said he has some solid depth on the mound, but players need to log more varsity innings.
“We haven’t really got (the pitching staff) set in what direction we want to go,” Roberts said. “I don’t really feel like I have a No. 1 guy. … I want us to get play double-headers on Saturdays, because that’s how we’re going to have to play late in the year.”
Thus far, GHSA regulations on pitch counts haven’t thrown a wrench into how coaches are scheduling their starters. Pitchers are now required to leave the game after reaching 110 pitches, and must be subject to three days rest after 86 pitches, two days after 61 and one day after 36.
Roberts said it was rare, even before the rule was enacted, that he asked a Monday starter to return to pitch on a Friday — just once last season, he said. Otte and his staff calendar each pitcher after he appears in a game, making not the day he officially becomes available. Otte rolled out three of him top pitchers on Monday, but none exceeded 60 pitches, making all three available for the weekend.
Roberts said the Red Terrors spent plenty of time in the batting cage after being one-hit threw 6.0 innings by Camden County’s Ian Smith. Roberts was quick to tout Smith’s medal on the mound. There was no swing tweaking in the cages at Edo Miller Field this week, but plate approach tweaking.
“We hit some balls hard and I wasn’t upset with our approach,” Roberts said. “I like our lineup physically and hopefully this weekend playing 14 innings straight will give us a chance to get us more at bats and a lot more pitches to get us ready for next week.”