South Cobb's baseball team earned a spot in the state playoffs for the first time since 1998, finishing the 2011 regular season 13-12 overall and 9-5 in Region 4-AAAAA, good for third place.
Highlights included Avery Williams' perfect game in April against Pebblebrook, and a critical road win over defending state champion Harrison in the season's final week, which earned the team a prized post-season berth.
The Eagles drew a tough assignment in the opening round of the playoffs, traveling to Luella to face one of the top teams in the state. The Lions (21-6) swept the series, ending South Cobb's 2011 season, but there’s good reason to think the program is on the right track under head coach Mark Collins.
"It was a tremendous year," said Collins. "[Despite] having a very young team with only four seniors, we won eight of our last ten games, including back-to-back victories over rivals Campbell and McEachern on the last two days [of the regular season] to clinch a playoff spot."
One of the Eagles' top players was senior David Collins, who is the coach's son. As a pitcher he posted a 6-1 record with a 1.61 earned run average and tallied 54 strikeouts in 39 innings. The victory and strikeout totals were tops in the region. Collins also starred as the team’s catcher and batted .386 with four home runs, two triples and 18 RBIs. He is headed to Columbus next year to join Tom Carty's nationally-ranked program at Georgia College and State University.
Fellow senior Zach Williams was also a key contributor for the Eagles. Williams recorded a 4-4 mark as a pitcher while leading the team with a .500 batting average and 15 stolen bases. He may play second base at the college level but has not yet signed with a team.
Along with Collins and Williams, the Eagles will lose Cuong Dinh and Avery Anderson to graduation. However, Mark Collins still expects next year's club to be solid.
"We will be strong in the outfield with all three starters [Dyan Johnson, Dion Law and Rashaad Lidell] returning. All we will really be looking for is pitching," said Collins.
The 2012 team will also have three returning starters in the infield- shortstop Tyler Minkinnen, third baseman Avery Williams, and first baseman Derek Coger.