May 25, 2008
Valdosta - Valdosta High baseball coach Bart Shuman wants to end a long state title drought for the Wildcats this year.
Valdosta's last state title in baseball was in 1978 when the Wildcats were led by Buck Belue who of course led Georgia to a national championship in football.
This year's Wildcats have another Georgia Bulldog in pitcher-shortstop Earl Daniels.
Daniels and Kyle Rowe have teamed up to give the Wildcats a terrific one-two starting punch in the state playoffs.
Tomorrow, Valdosta High will face a Walton team in the AAAAA semifnals that also has a very deep pitching staff.
That means the team that can capitalize on scoring opportunities will likely head to the state finals.
Bart Shuman said "We are not going to hit a lot of homeruns. We put in play. We hit and run and we have got some speed. Hopefully we will get us a couple."
Earl Daniels said "They are going to hit the ball but we are going to do our jobs. Throw strikes. Get ground balls. Get outs and our offense just needs to score runs for us."
Valdosta High and Walton will play a doubleheader at five tomorrow at Wright Bazemore Field.
In AA, Cook and Lovett High are 200 miles apart but the two schools are building a very good rivalry.
The two teams meeting in the state playoffs for a second time in three years.
The Hornets won in three games in 2005 and Cook coach Bob Owsley knows the Lions will be looking to settle the score.
Coach Owsley is just pleased his team has made it this far in what was a reloading year for the Hornet baseball program.
Bob Owsley said "The whole season in itself has been a big surprise. Because you know we lost six starters last year to graduation. We have had kids that have really stepped up. There is not one kid in this lineup that has not done something for us during the year. Even the kids that are on the bench."
Lovett beat Cook in the AA football semifinals back in December.
Game one is 4:00 p.m. Monday in Adel.