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.