NORTH AUGUSTA — For Kevin Lynn, what his Fox Creek players accomplished this season is starting to sink in.
Occasional reminders have helped. The state championship trophy shines under the lights of his school office. He was recently approached in Wal-Mart by a stranger who shook his hand and congratulated him on the title.
Lynn, The Augusta Chronicle’s All-Area Baseball Coach of the Year, is taking it upon himself to remind his players of their success. Led by Lynn as head coach, Fox Creek won the Class AA state championship in May. It was the program’s first state team title and first ever team championship in school history.
“I told the boys I don’t think you realize the magnitude of what you just pulled off,” Lynn said. “There’s a lot of people here who put a lot of work into this school to get it to where it’s at now, and to see it excel the way it has and to finally reach that level we hadn’t been at before, to be a part of all that is awesome.”
Fox Creek went 27-5 and rolled through the playoffs with eight consecutive victories.
After sweeping its way to a district championship, the Predators picked up a close win over St. Joseph’s, then battered Chesnee 10-2 to reach the Upper State finals. They again faced Chesnee for a chance to reach the state title series, and this time it was much closer.
Down by two in the sixth, Neko Williams singled home two with two outs to reach a tie at 6.
The two remained knotted until the eighth, when Williams again came through on a two-out RBI single to walk it off and reach the state championship.
Behind the pitching of Ryan Gregory, Fox Creek outdueled Latta 3-2 in Game 1 of the title series, then rolled to a clinching 11-1 victory in Game 2 for the trophy.
“We were so focused on accomplishing what we knew we could accomplish as a team that it felt normal,” Lynn said. “It felt like we were destined to do it. When we won the Upper State championship game at home in a walk-off, I think we knew right then that this is going to happen. At that point we were clicking on everything.”
Gregory recorded a 1.14 ERA while hitting .480 to be named Class AA state player of the year. Williams, Mike Ray, Hayden Boyette, Phillip Colvin and Peyton Doolittle were named All-State.
Lynn was behind it all as Fox Creek’s young, accomplished coach. He now has a place in school history alongside his players.
“It was a complete team effort,” Lynn said. “These guys are forever etched in the memory bank, in the heart, and they’ll be on that trophy. I told the guys you’ll forever me remembered at this school for what you accomplished. It’s something you’ll never forget.”
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com.