RALEIGH — Beginning tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. at Five County Stadium, the Athens Drive baseball team begins a best of three series with Northwest Guilford to see who will be state champion. The Jaguars are trying to make school history.
It may be somewhat of a surprise that Athens Drive is playing for the state 4A baseball championship, considering this is Coach John Thomas' first year with the Jags.
"I walked into a very good situation," Thomas admits. "You've got to have talent to get there, and we've got some talent. Our guys, at the same time, are very competitive. It's been a great year."
While Thomas is the rookie on campus, some of these players have been playing baseball together since they were 10 years old. They've tasted success before, but nothing could take the place of a state championship.
"Whew! That would be awesome, you know?" gasps Josh Hamilton. "My brother played here in '95. He graduated, and they got to the eastern finals. So, we've taken it a step further."
"A month from now, we'll look back, and we will have said we've had a great year regardless of what happens this weekend," Thomas says. "If we could bring back the big one, it would be great."
Winning the eastern championship is nothing to whiff about, but the chance to win the school's first state baseball title is what's driving Athens.