This From the Sidelines column appeared in the print edition of the April 4, 2018 News Journal as part of special coverage from the 2018 13th Region All “A” baseball and softball tournaments, as well as the upcoming 2018 All “A” state championship tourneys…
It has been a big school year for coverage area teams in regional All “A” competition.
Things started back in the fall with the addition of the brand new Williamsburg Lady Jacket volleyball team to the annual 13th Region All “A” championship tournament. Also in the fall, Lady Jacket golfer Morgan Owens-Lewis qualified to appear in the 2017 All “A” state championship invitational.
This past winter we saw the Williamsburg girls basketball team make their first-ever trip to the All “A” state championship tournament in Richmond, advancing all the way to the semifinal round before being eliminated by Shelby Valley.
We had a local team in the boys’ All “A” state basketball tournament as well, with the Lynn Camp Wildcats defeating Williamsburg in the 13th Region championship game back in January. The Cats would be eliminated in their first round game at state, but the LCHS cheer squad went on to be named champions of the tournament’s in-game cheerleading competition.
Now here we are in the spring sports season, and Williamsburg has made history once more by sweeping the All “A” softball and baseball regions, earning the chance to potentially contend for state titles in just a few weeks’ time.
I have been very fortunate during my time covering sports at the News Journal to witness several major events. I have covered three high school state championship football games so far. I have been to two boys Sweet 16 tournaments, and one girls Sweet 16. I’ve got to cover several area track, cross country, tennis and soccer athletes at the state level. I’ve also had the opportunity to follow local bowlers and wrestlers as they have qualified to represent their schools on the state championship stage.
Getting to witness the baseball Yellow Jackets and the softball Lady Jackets win their All “A” regional titles recently definitely ranks right up there with some of the most exciting athletic events that I have been a part of. It was made extra-special this year, because I have witnessed firsthand the amount of work that both coaches Bryan Hopkins (baseball) and Jason Prewitt (softball) and their staffs have put into getting their teams to this point.
Also, anyone who is familiar with the 2018 Jackets and Lady Jackets will know that, collectively, this is a very special group that is just loaded with talent. That’s not to say that previous teams weren’t, but so far two softball players (Hailey Richardson and Kelsey Tye) have signed on to continue playing in college, as did catcher Jake Harrison, who became the baseball program’s first athlete to sign collegiately in many years.
This group has been a great joy to be around off the field as well, and I am just very happy for all of them that they were able to achieve what they have this spring. That goes especially for the seniors that have done such a fantastic job leading the way for their teammates so far this season.
As for what comes next for the Williamsburg baseball and softball teams as far as All “A” competition is concerned, all of that is detailed inside this week’s special edition. Best of luck to both groups in their quests to make even more history before the 2017-18 school year is through!