Friday, October 11, 2013
In South Carolina, football is the king of the fall sports.
But gradually in the past few years, a prince has appeared: baseball.
Three of Georgetown County's four high schools – Carvers Bay, Georgetown and Waccamaw – are competing against St. James, Socastee and five other schools in the Grand Strand fall baseball league.
Varsity and junior varsity players compete in about 13 games during a five-week period.
Although the games are approved by the S.C. High School League, the school's varsity baseball coaches are not allowed to coach fall league teams.
“It's a different perspective sitting in the stands,” said Georgetown coach Ben Waddle, who took over the Bulldogs last spring when legendary coach Mike Johnson retired.
Waddle said the fall games bring the team back together to start building chemistry for the spring.
“It gets them working together.”
“I think it's a useful tool for us for player evaluations,” said Waccamaw coach Jeff Gregory. “It gives them good chemistry.”
Waddle, Gregory and Carvers Bay coach Andrew Fox also like to see players trying different positions and playing in game situations, before the stress and pressure of the regular season.
“It's a great opportunity for our kids,” Fox said. “It's the live game time situations that our kids have been lacking in the past.”
There are not a lot opportunities outside of the high school arena for Carvers Bay baseball players.
“It is extremely beneficial to see that high level of completion,” Fox said. “It can only make us better.”
All three coaches agreed that fall baseball is a good opportunity for a junior varsity player to show his coach that he's ready to step up to the varsity level.
Waddle and Gregory encourage their players to participate in more than just baseball.
Gregory said football makes a young man a better baseball player.
“I don't like guys who play all year round,” he said, “it's overuse.”
Waddle played three sports in high school.
“I like to see more diversity,” he said. “If they play two or three sports, they'll be fine.”
Baseball continues until Nov. 3, and then will disappear until the new year.