The Wolverines reached the state playoffs a year ago and will be looking to earn another trip out of Region 5AAAAAA this season.
After graduating a large group of seniors, including Cole Watson and Carter Sangrey, Woodstock will be young his season. But according to coach Todd Harris, they are an enthusiastic bunch.
“I like the energy and the effort I’m seeing,” said Harris, whose team is off to a 1-1 start.
The biggest obstacle the Wolverines will have to overcome is their depleted pitching staff. Andrew Howard, who pitched several complete games last year, also graduated.
“I’d say we are very inexperienced in pitching,” Harris said. “We’ve got a lot of guys on the pitching staff that have hit batters and things like that. It comes with the inexperience. I think that, as guys become more comfortable with games, we will be fine. But right now, pitching is lagging behind as far as where we want it to be.”
If the pitching is down, the hitting certainly hasn’t been.
The Wolverines connected for 12 hits in the first inning of their 10-7 loss to Sequoyah on Tuesday, then added another eight hits in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over River Ridge.
“We are hitting the ball a lot better than I thought we would be,” Harris said. “By the time the region (play) comes, maybe we can solidify the pitching a bit and be in good shape.”
Harris admits it will be more difficult to get to the state playoffs with Milton and Roswell in the region, but he said that it isn’t out of the question for the Wolverines to qualify.
As the fourth seed last season, Woodstock faced Milton in the first round of the playoffs and won the first game of the best-of-three series 8-4 before dropping the next two.
“Milton was the No. 1 seed, and No. 2 in the state, and we beat them in the first game,” Harris said. “I was proud of our kids, even though they beat us the next two games. I’m really excited to play them again.
“With the addition of them and Roswell, two well-known baseball programs in the state a Georgia, it will be more challenging, but like I told our kids, that’s how I like it. I want to play the best teams in the state.”
Harris echoed the sentiments of other Region 5AAAAAA coaches in saying that the four teams that will eventually represent the region in the state tournament will be battle-tested by the time they get there.
“It will be harder to get there, but if you make it, you can feel really good about competing with any other team in Georgia,” Harris said. “We just know we have to play a lot better to make the playoffs this year.”