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Local athletes busy and successful

It has been a busy and successful summer for Bainbridge athletes in various sports.

While our Bainbridge Leisure Services Department 14-and-under girls softball team was busy winning the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association (GRPA) District 3 championship in Cairo, Bainbridge High School Bearcats football players continued working out Monday through Thursday in the weight room in preparation for the upcoming 2009 season.

Bainbridge High School junior varsity Bearcats baseball players are getting their first chance to hit with a wooden bat this week as Bearcats head baseball coach Scott Miller conducts a junior varsity wooden bat tournament at Bearcat Field.

Earlier in the summer, Miller took his varsity Bearcats to a wooden bat tournament in Atlanta, and they did very well.

Some state high school associations, most notably the state of New York, have outlawed aluminum bats in high school competition.

It’s not a bad idea for players to get used to using a wooden bat. If other states decide to follow New York’s lead, some day they might have to,

Sticking with baseball, Thursday I had the opportunity to witness the signing of Bearcats ace right-handed pitcher Jeremy Coram with the Valdosta State University Blazer at Fellowship Baptist Church.

I’ve been in the business of covering sports for this fine newspaper for 39 years, and seeing the joy and pride in the faces of parents and coaches as a young man or young lady signs a college athletic scholarship never gets old.

I congratulate Jeremy, who is a strong pitcher and an even better Christian young man, his parents, Bob and Shari Coram, coach Miller and Bearcats junior varsity coach Kevin Bearden, who witnessed the signing in front of a large group of his teammates and friends.

Bainbridge High School Bearcats and Lady Cats soccer players also got some first-rate soccer instruction from Miller Georgia College head soccer coach and Ireland native Vinny Gill, first at Thomas University, then at the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA.

Vinny, who has conducted soccer camps here for many years, is one of the nicest, and most knowledgeable soccer coaches that I have ever known.

Also at the YMCA, Craig Ingram, a Challenger Sports British soccer coach, instructed very young players in all aspects of the game.

I’d like to send out special congratulations to four young men who brought a lot of positive recognition to Bainbridge and Decatur County on the state level.

Bainbridge High School students Sutton Reece, Keenan Adams and Andy Jeter, representing the Tifton Skeet and Gun Club, won state runner-up junior varsity team honors in competition at the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) State Championship at Lake Oconee, and Daniel Provence helped lead the Valdosta Lowndes County Soccer Club team to the semifinal round of the National Presidents Cup Soccer Tournament in Greenville, S.C.

Yes, the summer has been busy and successful for Bainbridge athletes, and it’s not over yet.