Originally created 05/18/99

Harlem tradition worries next foe



Thomasville coach Tommy Adcock's main concern isn't Harlem's pitching. His main concern isn't hitting, either.

The Class AA No. 1-ranked Bulldogs have a team batting average of .351 along with a team ERA of 3.48.

But while Thomasville plays host to Harlem on Thursday in a doubleheader at 4 p.m. in the Class AA state championship best-of-3 series, Adcock is concerned with something not found on stat sheets.

Tradition.

"Harlem's been there," said the fourth-year Thomasville coach. "They know about it. They have a state championship under their belt. They have a lot of years on their walls over there and on the back of their T-shirts. Thomasville, on the other hand, does not have the tradition."

Harlem has won eight state titles with championships in 1974, '78, '79, '81, '82, '83 and '86. The Bulldogs also have won 16 region titles since 1969 and have finished as state runner-up twice.

Thomasville (26-6) may not compare to that but did win a state title in 1956, a year unfamiliar to Adcock.

"I didn't know they had a school back then," he said.

While Harlem knocked off three-time state defending champion Gainesville in the Class AA state semifinals, Thomasville swept Cartersville to reach the finals. Thomasville is undefeated in the state playoffs with sweeps against Swainsboro and Screven County in the first two rounds.

"That was a big, big series with Cartersville," Adcock said. "That was a big one for us as far as I'm concerned."

The Thomasville Bulldogs won the Region 1-AA championship this year and are led by four seniors Lavale Speigner, Daniel Young, Garrett Fields and David Chambers, along with sophomore pitcher/catcher Clay Wehner.

"There's a pretty good shot of them playing college ball next year," Adcock said. "Lord willing, that's what it's all about, getting to the next level."

Chris Gay covers Columbia County sports for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 868-1222 or cag112@hotmail.com