Glynn County Schools Athletics


Pirates set to take diamond for new season Monday


By Kevin Price For GCS Athletics The Brunswick High baseball team will open its new season today against Brantley County in Nahunta before hosting the Herons on Tuesday for their home debut in 2023. The Pirates are beginning their third season under head coach Greg Roberts who enjoyed success at both Frederica Academy and Glynn Academy before accepting the BHS job prior to the 2021 season. Brunswick will be looking to improve on a 14-16 record last spring when they also finished 7-11 in Region 2-AAAAAA which proved to be a strong league once again last season. “Another year, another group, it’s exciting. It’s here,” Roberts said. BHS will field a young team overall as the Pirates have only four seniors on their roster. Three of those seniors are pitchers, and a deep pitching staff could very well be the strength of this Brunswick team which hopes to qualify for the playoffs. Riley Morgan, a left-hander, returns as a starting pitcher for the Pirates. Roberts also likes the upside of fellow senior left-hander Caden Purvis, a 6-foot-5 standout who is attracting attention from college scouts. Morgan will start in center field for the Pirates when he’s not on the mound. The Pirates also return senior right-hander Hunter Bratcher who was the team’s go-to relief pitcher last spring. Also set to pitch for the Pirates is junior standout Elijah Wellman who figures to be one of Brunswick’s starters in its three-game region series. Wellman is currently playing basketball for the Pirates who finished second in the region in the regular season and are assured of making the state tournament which doesn’t open until Feb. 21 which means Wellman will join the baseball team in late February at the earliest. BHS opens region play against Glynn Academy on Feb. 27, two days after completing play in the annual Baseball at the Beach tournament here in Glynn County. All of the BHS pitchers will throw to a familiar player behind the plate in senior Isaiah Brauda who was Brunswick’s starting catcher most of last season. “All four of our seniors are going to contribute a lot. They all have a lot of time under their belts,” Roberts said. “I really feel as they go, we’re gonna go,” the coach added of his pitchers. “I’m expecting them to give us a shot every time we go out there.” In addition to Wellman, the Brunswick junior class includes Ryan Thomas who can play all three outfield spots. Roland Chance, another junior, is back after playing third base last season. Another returning starter for the Pirates is infielder Jordan Lodise, a sophomore who started at second base last season as a freshman. Speaking of freshmen, the Pirates have a large group of ninth-graders. The team’s roster includes 12 freshmen coming into the season. Roberts hinted that some freshmen could be starters. “Our freshman class is really talented, four or five ninth-graders are probably going to play significant time. This may be the youngest infield I’ve ever started as a head coach. It’s not that they can’t play it. They’re just younger,” the coach noted. Roberts knows the Pirates have to improve offensively, no matter how good the pitching is along with the defense behind it. “We have not hit it well,” he said matter-of-factly. “We’ve spent a tremendous amount of time this offseason just pounding baseballs and trying to get better offensively. “We’re hoping to be able to move runners. We struck out a lot last year with runners in scoring position. We haven’t bunted well and we haven’t hit behind runners. We’ve done a lot of things poorly offensively. I feel like if we just clean up half of that, with what I think we can do on the mound, we should be able to compete.” The region will have a new look this season. Glynn Academy, Effingham and South Effingham are all back. Glynn finished second in the league last year and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs last spring after going to the quarterfinals the previous season. Effingham finished third and South Effingham finished fourth. Richmond Hill, which won the region last year, is now up in Class AAAAAAA, while Statesboro and Bradwell are now in Class AAAAA. Joining the region are Grovetown, a team Glynn beat in the opening round of state two years ago, Lakeside-Evans and Evans, a well-known state power in baseball. All three come out of the Augusta area. Last year, Evans won Region 3-AAAAAA while going 29-8 overall. The Knights reached the Elite 8 in state before falling to eventual state champion Pope. Lakeside finished second in that same region and fell in the second round of state, dropping a deciding third game to South Paulding by a run. Grovetown was third in the region last year and lost in the opening round of state to finish 14-13 for the season. “I don’t expect any slouches,” Roberts said when asked about the region. “Obviously, we know what Effingham and South Effingham will be like. They have good baseball programs every year, and Glynn is the same way. And Augusta always has pretty good baseball. It’s gonna be tough. “We’re fighting that battle of getting there, and I feel like we’re starting to get where I wanted this thing to be after two, three years. It takes time. I’m comfortable with what we do at practice, with what we’re teaching these kids and where we’re going.”