Westminster hasn’t won a state championship in baseball since 1975. So you wouldn’t think there would be much pressure on coach Russell Wrenn, in his second season as Westminster’s head coach.
But this is Westminster, where the Wildcats’ sports teams have won nine of a possible 10 state championships this spring. Westminster has won some 200 state championships, more than any other Georgia school, but never had a season like this.
In fact, no school had won more the five state titles in one spring until this year.
‘’The golf coach and I were having lunch the other day; everybody else had finished, and they were playing Monday and we were in the semifinals,’’ Wrenn said. “I said, ‘I guess if we want to be back next year, we need to win it.’ The standard has been set.’’
The Class AA baseball series, which begins Saturday with a double-header that starts at 6 p.m. at Westminster, is interesting on several fronts.
Westminster has dominated spring sports, and one might say dominated Lovett this baseball season (winning all three meetings), but the idea that Westminster is the favorite is not on that Wrenn is ready to accept.
Westminster won those three games by a total of four runs (4-2, 3-2, 7-6), but Lovett had won 17 straight in the series prior to that. Lovett also has six state titles to its credit, most recently in 2009.
Wrenn was asked what it meant to be playing Lovett for the championship.
‘’Boy, I think that’s a complicated question,’’ he said. “So many players know each other. They grew up playing ball together, usually more than one sport, whether it was Buckhead baseball or NYO. It’s pretty exciting for our community.’’
The complications have more to do with challenge of beating a very good team and knowing that the March three-game series between the two means little now except that the teams are closely matched.
Westminster has the tools to win it, though. Wrenn, also Westminster’s offensive coordinator in football, started five sophomores and a freshman last year, and those kids have Westminster grow up into a state contender.
Senior Hays Meyer (9-2, 1.29) and junior Conrad Cornell (10-0, 1.77) have won each of their four playoff starts. Junior center fielder Jake Johnson (.344) has offers from Georgia and Notre Dame. Sophomore Connor Stutts (.398) is another major D-1 recruit. The leading hitter is junior McClain Bradley (.427). Freshman Rankin Woley is batting .373.
Wrenn hopes to get some fans of other sports to come Saturday and root on the dynasty.
‘’Obviously this spring has been exciting for the school,’’ Wrenn said. “There were a couple of sports that we felt like we had a good chance in, and for others it took some amazing efforts by our students to get it done, especially in track and field and soccer. It’s been fun following each other. We’ve had kids finish practice and sprint over to the soccer game. There has been some great energy on campus.’’
Westminster’s spring state titles:
Track & Field (boys)
Track & Field (girls)