Can Ed Williams fill Terry Holder's shoes at Greenbrier? That's what enquiring minds want to know.
"That's the statement of the year," said Williams, who has spent the past nine seasons under Holder at both Evans and Greenbrier. "I just have to take care of what we're doing with the players. That's all I can control."
Holder resigned last spring after leading Greenbrier to its third straight Class AAA state title in the school's third season of existence. The job was awarded to Williams, who played and coached under Holder.
"I'm real excited about the opportunity," Williams said. "It's something I've wanted for a long time."
Once again, it appears the Wolfpack could make a run at another state title this season. The entire infield is back, and the team consists of eight seniors and a strong group of underclassmen. Williams just hopes he can keep Greenbrier headed in the right direction.
"We lost four starters from last year, but those four guys were good ones; they were good leaders too," Williams said. "I guess what the biggest thing about this year is, isthat we've got eight seniors, and we've got to have leaders and well as followers.
"Terry had a way of putting players in the right place at the right time. It was just unbelievable how he could do that. Hopefully, I can pick up on some of that."
TOUGH REGION: Georgia Class AA has a reputation for good, quality baseball. This year, the best AA region may be Region 3-AA. State runner-up Harlem, Jefferson County and Swainsboro each have high expectations and are aiming to make the state playoffs.
However, only two teams from each region will make the state tournament. One of the three will be spending the postseason at home.
MIDLAND VALLEY'S ACES: Midland Valley baseball coach Bruce Zuehlke has put together some statecontenders over the past several seasons. Last season, the Mustangs made it to the Class AAA Lower State finals.
Not many of the players from that team return, but the good news is that the bulk of the Mustangs pitching staff is back. Seniors Kory Hall, Anthony Prosser and Joey Hicks combined for 17 of Midland Valley's 23 wins last season.
DOUBLE-DUTY: Andrew Smalley likely will be Lincoln County's starting quarterback next season. He may be the Red Devils' ace on the mound this season, too.
Smalley has excellent mechanics and throws hard. The pitcher was 4-2 last season.
BREAKING THE SKID? No one quite knows when the Hephzibah Rebels last made the state playoffs. However, diehard Rebels fans are hoping this is their year.
The Rebels have eight returning starters, including five seniors. Much of the success will ride on senior pitcher Zack Livley, Hephzibah's ace from last season.
NOTES: Two local South Carolina teams, Midland Valley and Barnwell, made it to the Class AAA and Class AA Lower State finals last year ...Region 3-AAA will have four new faces on the diamond this season, Thomson's Mike Santagata, Greenbrier's Ed Williams, Burke County's Donald Wheeler and ARC's Jaime Echols.
Reach Tim Morse at (706) 823-3216.