Cherokee County was assured of its first state baseball championship title since 1948, with two county high schools in the state final series. Etowah was victorious over crosstown rival Woodstock. The teams played the championship series on May 24 at the Rome Braves stadium, with Etowah taking the first game 4-1 and the second game 5-4, after a grueling 11 innings.
Congratulations to both teams for making Cherokee County proud to be home to the state champions and state runners-up!
The coaches from both schools responded to ALM’s request for follow-up articles to talk about the victory and what’s next for the seniors on the teams. We appreciate their cooperation and wish them much success in upcoming seasons!
Etowah Coach Greg Robinson
“Etowah’s baseball team just did what no other Cherokee County team has been able to do in over 60 years, win a state baseball championship.
“The season didn’t begin very well for the Eagles as they found themselves in the region cellar with a record of 3-6 before spring break. Etowah turned things around in the second half but still had to win the last region series to qualify for the state playoffs.
“Entering the state playoffs as a four seed, the Eagles played all five series on the road, having to win two out of three games in each series to advance. The Eagles split the first four series doubleheaders, and had to return to play game three the next day. Getting home late on a school night after splitting the DH and then heading back to play again after school was tough. I am so proud of these young men, and I attribute it to the strong senior leadership we had this year.”
Drew Waters: Atlanta Braves
Andrew Keene: Georgia State
Brady Jones: Andrews College
Brady Barker: Tennessee Tech
Matthew Ridgeway: University of Georgia
Patrick Allen: Georgia Southern
Charlie B. Marcus: Alabama
Nic Bartosz: North Georgia
“Etowah defeated Woodstock in the championship series in front of almost 4,000 fans in the Rome Braves Stadium. This was a season filled with much grace and goes to show you what young men can do when they go all in.”
Greg Robinson has served as Etowah’s head coach since 2008. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he holds a BA and MAT in health education and a specialist degree from LMU. Robinson is a UNC baseball letterman, placing third in the College World Series. He served as a graduate assistant at UNC and played professional baseball with the Texas Rangers. Coach Robinson also has led the Eagles to 2010 Region Champions and 2009 Region Champions.
“The Woodstock High School baseball team had a season for the record books as the Wolverines played for the 7A state championship for the first time in school history.
“The Wolverines set the school single-season record in wins (25), as well as playoff wins (eight). The Wolverines won their first playoff series in school history and followed that up by winning four playoff series to make it to the championship series.
“There were numerous team records and individual school records that were shattered during the season. The Wolverines kept climbing throughout the year and started playing their best baseball leading up to and in the playoffs. Although finishing third in the region, the Wolverines fought their way through the playoffs as the underdog and the visiting team in each round leading up to the championship series.
“On the mound, the Wolverines were led by seniors Jared Staples and Brant Hurter, who have both been pitching on the varsity level for the last four years. At the plate, the Wolverines were led by seniors Jason Woszczynski and Nolan Tressler, who have led the Wolverines in batting average for the last two years. The Wolverines were led by 11 seniors, many of which have signed to play baseball (and football) in college.”
Jared Staples: Kennesaw State University
Brant Hurter: Georgia Tech
Nolan Tressler: Georgia Southern University
Jason Woszczynski: Georgia Highlands
Grant Jacobs: Shorter University
Liam Byrne: Georgia Tech (football)
Logan Cox: Georgia Southern (football)
“Along with these seniors, four others have left their lasting impression on the Woodstock baseball program and will be greatly missed: Bryson Beard, Austin Wright, Tyler Krasnoff and Hunter McNabb.”
This is Jeff Brown’s first year as head coach for the Wolverines. He joined the baseball program four years ago as the junior varsity coach, then became the varsity pitching coach, where he led the pitching staff to an ERA of 3.41 in 2014, 2.69 in 2015, and 1.97 in 2016. He played ball at Young Harris College and Kennesaw State University, where he earned a BS in health and physical education. He has an MA in health and physical education from Georgia State University and is working on an education specialist degree in coaching pedagogy from Valdosta State University.