Even with their promising season on hiatus, the Creek will rise. Heading into the break, the Sandy Creek baseball team was putting the pieces together for a successful campaign.
Playing in a brutally tough region dominated by perennial powerhouses Cartersville, Troup, and LaGrange hasn’t yet yielded a return to the playoffs, but there have been clear markers of progress.
“When I took over this program two years ago, I could see the hunger in everyone’s eyes to bring it back to the prominence it deserves. I had players that were willing to work, I had parents that were willing to put in the time and effort, and I had an administrative staff that was 100 percent behind what we wanted to accomplish,” said Sandy Creek coach Nick Pou, offering special thanks to Brian Siefert and Scott Bodkin for helping make Sandy Creek’s baseball facilities some of the best in the state.
The Patriots were on a roll when they had to return to their dugouts. They were winners of seven of their last eight games, just one short of last year. With a whopping 115 runs scored in just 12 games, they were already within just 26 runs of 2019’s total.
“I was so proud of the progress the program has made in one year. With the change going on, we noticed a change in the number of players that wanted to stay at Sandy Creek and build this program,” said Pou. “For a number of years, we saw player after player jump ship for other schools in our county and private schools close by. Now, people are noticing that we have a program in place that can not only compete at the highest level but also allow them to go as far as they want from a collegiate or professional standpoint.”
Those that bought into the Patriot way are flourishing. Last year, they had four seniors sign to play college ball, including Connor Housley who was drafted by the Texas Rangers. This year, they have seen three more signees, with another MLB draft pick likely. Each of the four classes boasts at least one player with a division one offer.
“The players know we not only will be competitive on the field each season, but they are getting the attention they deserve beyond high school.”
That depth shows in a roster with contributors throughout.
“There are so many guys that have contributed to the change and success of this program lately. It’s tough to pick out just a few because each one contributes something different to the team,” said Pou. “They know their roles and do it well.”
John Marant, a Georgia Tech signee and potential MLB pick, leads the way, and he was just getting started after missing the early stages of the season to injury. Brian Siefert, an Andrew College signee, was raking to the tune of a .567 average, best in Class AAAA among qualified hitters. Fellow Andrew signee Logan Byerly is a top two-way player, hitting .424 at the break. Catcher Dylan Wyckoff rounds out the key senior quartet, and he provided one of the season’s biggest highlights with a grand slam against Baldwin.
Junior Glenn Green is getting massive buzz as one of the top third-year players in the country with a rocket for a right arm as a pitcher and a .423 average at the plate. Jacob Bodkin is another versatile junior, hitting .455 and throwing key innings.
Jonathan Little leads the sophomore crew, hitting .429 and picking up big saves. Jordan Thomas and Hunter Maddox have made their impacts felt as well. Freshmen Kaden Brown and Kaleb Cost are already carving out key roles for themselves, as well.
“These guys are the reason for the program turnaround. They made a decision to go through the tough work, and now they are seeing it pay off.”
Hopefully, the Patriots will get to return to the diamond this spring and finish the turnaround. They have a date with the postseason they don’t want to miss.