Most days, Gerald Barnes works at a field named after himself.
But one wouldn’t find out about Barnes’ role in the Westside legacy by asking him. Instead, Barnes talks about the players, like this season’s region player of the year Mason Dodd, or all the coaches he’s worked alongside with. He seemingly tries to make his part in the 39 years of accomplishments, including state titles in 1987 and 1988, more of a footnote.
“Overall, the program has been good,” Barnes said. “I think, the whole time that I’ve been here, it’s from the people around us – not from what anything I’ve done. We’ve carried it on a little bit.”
This season, Barnes is The Augusta Chronicle All-Area Baseball Coach of the Year.
Westside returned to the state quarterfinals for the second year in a row, making it the only non-private school to reach the round of eight in each of the past two seasons.
After a loss to Screven County early on, Westside regrouped and marched through the season, picking up a region title and two state playoff series wins.
David Hagelston and Jonathan Jahn pitched well and Jalen Lampkin provided a strong leadoff bat.
The postseason run was just another impressive showing for Barnes, who is Georgia’s all-time winningest high school baseball coach.
Though Barnes could retire, he wonders what he would do instead.
As he put it, he doesn’t fish or hunt and doesn’t play golf – “God, that’s ugly,” as he described his play.
With baseball, Barnes finds happiness at a school he’s been head coach at for nearly 40 seasons.
“I’ve been lucky through the years,” Barnes said. “A lot of good kids and a lot of good parents supported us. If I had to do it again, I’d do it again.”