Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

As the spring postseason cavalcade draws nearer, our thoughts down at The List HQ turn to championships.

We’ve seen a lot of great ones in baseball around here. And heck, we’ve got one going strong right now.

Columbus, one of the state’s true historic programs, is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA, ready to make a run at being the first team in more than half a century to win four straight baseball titles in Georgia.

So where do they stack up against all the other great dynasties the state has seen? We thought we’d take a look, as we typically do. Here’s your top 10 …

10. Columbus 2010-12

This one stands at No. 10 now, but it has the opportunity to shoot up to No. 2 – or even, dare we say it, No. 1 – if the Blue Devils knock out one more in a few weeks. Right now, they’re just one of 15 teams that have gotten three in a row. But one more moves them into range of immortality. Will they get it?

9. Marist 1981-85

With 12 state titles under their belt, the Eagles are one of the best baseball programs in the state. But they’ve never had a better stretch than 1981-85, when they racked up four Class AAA titles in five years. As good as they were, Troup may not be much of a fan. Marist swept Troup in the finals in both 1984 and 85; the Tigers never have gotten a baseball crown.

8. Mt. de Sales 1966-72

From 1966-80, Mt. de Sales had quite the little program going, winning all eight of the school’s baseball titles. The best part of that time was 1966-72, when the Cavaliers won five titles, including two pairs of back-to-back ones. Names like Johnny Henderson and Bobby Huellemeier still bring back memories for fans from back then.

7. Clinch County 1986-92

Call it the Golden Era of Clinch County High sports. Not only did Clinch win five baseball titles in those seven years – five of the school’s six all-time baseball crowns – the Panthers locked up 13 titles in football, basketball and baseball during that stretch. And in the 1988-89 school year, they won championships in football, baseball and boys basketball, still the only school to do that.

6. Pepperell 1952-58

While Richmond Academy was putting together its legendary dynasty two classifications up, Pepperell was starting its own dominant streak in Class B. The Dragons won three straight titles from 1952-54, then came back and took two more in 1957-58 to notch five titles in seven years.

5. Americus 1964-70

Through 1970, Americus had, arguably, the best baseball program in the state. The Panthers had nine state titles already, more than any other school. Their best seven-year span was this one, when they won five championships. It was nearly more too. In 1963, they beat Dudley Hughes in the state tournament, but it was double elimination. When they had a finals rematch, Hughes won two straight to knock Americus out.

4. Evans 1988-94

This was another stretch of five titles in seven years, sparked by Augusta-area phenom Todd Greene, who led the team to back-to-back championships in 1988-89. He hit 24 homers in 60 games, 17 of which came during Evans’ 29-0 season of 1989.

3. Gainesville 1996-02

While a solid baseball program over the years, the Elephants haven’t won a lot on the state stage. Well, except for during this seven-year stretch, that is. The win in 1996 was Gainesville’s first in 18 years, and the Elephants decided it wasn’t enough. They went on to win five titles through 2002, more than tripling their previous championship total.

2. Harlem 1978-86

Still the only team besides Richmond Academy to win six titles in a nine-year stretch, Harlem had a heck of a run from the late 1970s to mid 80s. In the middle of the dynasty, they won three in a row from 1981-83. The school has seven championships, all won between 1974 and 86.

1. Richmond Academy 1951-57

It’s the benchmark, no matter what you think about the time or the level of competition. Considering nobody else has won even four in a row, seven straight is just absurd. If the second-longest such streak in U.S. history isn’t enough for you, consider they went 147-13 in that time. Yes, 13 losses in seven years. That’s not a misprint.

Now we want to know what you think. Which ones do you think are the best baseball dynasties in state history? What do you remember about the ones you watched? Have you ever won seven straight … anything? Let us know here in the comments or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.

9 comments Add your comment

HornetFollower

April 24th, 2013
9:29 am

While not known for consecutive state championships, Cook Baseball in the 1990’s were a dynasty in a time where the classification set up made it more difficult to win a state championship. In the same classification as Gainesville, Lovett, and Harlem, the Hornets went to the Final Four seven times from 1991 – 2000; winning it all in 1992 and 2000 and finishing second in 1998. Of course it will never be remembered because it only produced 2 championships.

Nicknames

April 24th, 2013
10:18 am

“War Eagles” “Red Elephants”

Ernest

April 24th, 2013
11:05 am

Great Top 10 list, Jeff! I always look forward to reading these…

Jeff Haws

April 24th, 2013
11:27 am

HornetFollower – Very cool. I didn’t notice that when I was researching this, for exactly the reason you mention — it only produced 2 championships. That’s a really nice run, though. Thanks for pointing that out.

Nicknames – Yeah, you’re certainly not wrong. I took a little creative license on this one, for brevity’s sake. I actually rarely call Marist the War Eagles, even when I cover their games.

Ernest – Always good to hear from you. Hope everything is well.

Glenn Hubbard

April 24th, 2013
5:38 pm

Between 1969 and 1976 Roswell High School appeared in 4 State Baseball Championships. 1969 v. Terrell County, 1970 v. Vidalia, 1971 v. Hepzibah and 1976 v. Mt. DeSales. Roswell won 2 of those Championships in 1970 and 1971. Those teams produced 2 Major League Players i.e. Mike Ramsey,St. Louis Cardinals and Tony Phillips, Oakland Athletics. Both later won World Series Championships in 1983 (Cards v. Brewers) and 1989 (A’s v. Giants). Coach Charlie Horne was the HC in ‘69, ‘70, and ‘71 and was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007.

One last tidbit….Roswell High also won a State Championship in Baseball in AAA in 1986 v. Jones County. Roswell was a Region rival of Marist all those years between 1981 -85 mentioned above. Lastly, Marist’s current HC played at Roswell and was a member of the ‘86 team. Talk about 6 degrees of seperation !

cvilleryder

April 24th, 2013
6:21 pm

What about the Cartersville Hurricanes? Came one game away from winning 4 in a row in 2004. Won 5 titles from 01 to 09. Went 3 plus postseasons without a loss dominating in 01 and especially 02. Serious consideration for being the best AA team ever, hit 88 homeruns 42 in the playoffs. 4 rounds that year at home where it is 331 down the lines 355 to gaps and 375 to center. Georgia dugout club team of the decade, 57 game region win streak . Since 96 Canes have advanced to the quarters every year but 07 and lost to eventual champ or runner up every year but 07. 286-56 from 2000-2010 with a couple of handfuls of losses to higher classification teams. Also Parkview had a great run and this run by Columbus has been very impressive they were loaded.

MDSUGA06

April 25th, 2013
5:59 am

I always love these efforts. Not sure of the MDS truncation in 1972, though. During that 15 year stretch from 1966-1980, MDS won 8 titles, reaching the State Finals every year from 1976-1980, winning the State Championship in 1976, 1978, and 1980, and finishing 27-1 in 1978. The ‘78 team (Mahoney, Horne, Pugh, Joyner–dirt and nails baseball players back then) was as dominating as Middle Georgia has ever seen. Hard to justify leaving those teams out.

MDSUGA06

April 25th, 2013
7:16 am

Also, for the MDS 1966-1980 years, Chester Pierce played on the 1966 State Championship team and then coached the 1976, 1978, and 1980 State Championship teams. That’s a dynasty with a pedigreed blood line.

Hubert Green

April 25th, 2013
4:55 pm

I believe Parkview had a great run during the Jeff Francoer years.