by Bella Millians
Before Whitewater’s baseball season was cut short, the Wildcats were on the road to success.
When the season came to an end with a 12-0 win over Griffin on March 12 due to COVID-19, the Wildcats were ranked number 8 in Class AAAAA with a sterling record of 12-3 overall and 8-0 in region play.
Coach Rusty Bennett knows his team was in the midst of something special.
“The kids were starting to gel, and we were playing really good baseball,” said Bennett.
Bennett knows the remainder of the schedule was going to be tough, but he believed his players could compete with anyone. The Cats would have been ready because their early slate left them battle-tested. Whitewater competed in the Georgia Dugout tournament where they played Troup County and Upson Lee. The Wildcats also played Eastside, Wayne County, Loganville, and Marist, with games against county foes McIntosh and Starr’s Mill looming.
Ending the season early was tough for the team, especially the seniors. It was a special class that saw their run end unceremoniously, with Maddox Mueller, Zach Leischner, Clay Wilson, Cody Cochran, Carter Ruff, Kaden Lewis, Chandler Tillman, Jacob Jones, Ethan Perkins, and Turner Hasty forced to hang up their gloves without one last run.
Following their last game on March 12th, with schools closed and practices cancelled, the team was unable to see each other. Although the Wildcats were sad, Bennett says that the boys were ready to compete at any time if anything changed.
When Bennett got the news that the original GHSA plan was only a two-week break, he told his team he loved them and challenged them to play the game as if it was their last. While it turned out they had already played their last game for the Wildcats, thankfully, many of the boys are still keeping in touch and will be able to compete together on summer ball teams.
With so much uncertainty, Bennett plans to take it day-by-day and face these new challenges as they come, following all guidelines to ensure the safety of his team. He knows that whenever Whitewater baseball is able to take the diamond again, they will be ready.