The school year brings memories

Published 11:22 pm Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I arrived in Bainbridge last year when the weather was getting chilly up north where I’m from, but down here the heat and the bugs were still an everyday thing. It was the very beginning of October, smack-dab in the middle of football season. The sports I’ve watched these students play since I arrived here have sent me on a rollercoaster of emotions.
I’ve been a Seminole, a Titan and a Bobcat, but I feel comfortable enough to add Bearcat to the list now.
I remember standing in the press box with radio casters Keith Lyle and Jason Andrews on my left and the legendary Joe Crine and Rusty Josey on my right, slamming the table and stomping my feet as I watched wide receiver Greg Cooper catch a pass from quarterback Preston Norris and take it all the way home. That was fun. It was nothing compared to the sigh of relief I had when I watched kicker Daniel Provence kick an overtime field goal for the win against Dothan, though.
I was also there when the Bearcats were taken down in round one of the GHSA AAAAA state playoffs at Ware County. It was a heartbreaker, but I still stand by the fact those players and coaches had nothing to be ashamed of.
Basketball season was a wild ride, too. Watching sophomore Tyree Crump pour in 3-pointers like it was his job gets me excited for that kid’s future. Of course, the team wouldn’t be complete without players like Trevon Shaw making rebounds or Steven Johnson leading the group. The Bearcats made it all the way to the Elite Eight to face off against Warner Robins, and they fought nobly. Unfortunately, the Demons were the better team that night. Coach Rickey McCullough and his team shouldn���t have any problem getting that far again next year.
The Bearcat baseball team had an outstanding group of players. Juniors Justin Strickland and Black Merchant and seniors Ben Day, Grant McDonald and Tate Lambert made some clutch plays and proved they could take care of business both on the field and in the batter’s box. All of them are promising athletes.
I watched the Bainbridge tennis team turn in strong results meet after meet, the cross-country team run all over Georgia and the track and field team send some talented competitors to the state meet.
The Bainbridge Middle School teams also showed up this season, dominating the football field and the basketball court. Congrats to them and all the work those coaches and players put in.
But my memories of the season wouldn’t be complete without remembering how the Grace Christian Academy volleyball team returned from Augusta as GHSA AA state champs. Senior Melissa Mills signed a scholarship to play volleyball at Gulf Coast State University just a couple weeks ago. That alone shows the level of skill the team competes at. Next year, I hope they get the job done again at state.
As these seniors graduate and leave openings for younger players to rise up and fill, the future continues to look bright for sports in this great city. I can’t say enough how impressed I am with the coaches, players and parents that make Bainbridge athletics thrive like they do.

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