After graduating 10 seniors this time last year, most everyone expected the 2022 Jefferson County High School baseball season to be spent rebuilding the team. Few suspected they would win their third region championship ever or win two championships back to back.
“The first year they won region was in ‘96,” said Coach Craig Brock. “Then we won in 2021 and again in 2022. It’s never happened back to back here,”
Losing that huge senior class and facing senior-heavy teams in Putnam and Oglethorpe county schools, all the polls had the JCHS Warriors slated to finish third in the region at best.
“I told the team at the beginning of the season we knew we were going to have to have some younger kids step up if we were going to compete,” Brock said. “And they did, they really did.”
Brock was recently named the region 4-AA Coach of the Year and graduating Warrior senior CJ Farmer, the region’s player of the year.
“Losing our lead-off hitter last year we really needed to find somebody to fill that space and CJ was our best hitter,” Brock said. “We wanted to get CJ as many at-bats as we could. Having him in that role, sometimes people pitched around him or put him on base.”
That set up Dawson Sheppard to drive in runs.
“Dawson had a really great year,” Brock said. “He had a lot of hits when CJ had been put on. Dawson was our defensive player of the year this year, he played third base.”
Most games, the coach said, he had two freshmen, two sophomores, four juniors and two to three seniors starting.
Seniors Josh Guy and Travis Braswell brought experience as a designated hitter and Braswell filling in depending on who was on the mound.
Freshmen Chevy Farmer (CJ’s younger brother) and Sam Hendricks stepped into starting positions.
The Warriors went 11-1 in the region, splitting their first region games against Oglethorpe. The Warriors lost the first game by two runs on the road, but when the opponents came back to Jefferson County, the Warriors beat them by eight runs.
“The year before we only lost like two games at home,” Brock said. “This year we lost three. Our kids really bought in and believed in having a home-field advantage. It was fun. The year before we expected to win region. Not to take anything away from what that team did, but this year it was fun to see the kids grow up, to mature.”
CJ Farmer was named region player of the year for region 4AA and first team first baseman. Dawson Sheppard was first team third baseman. Gabe Hendricks was named first team pitcher. Ryan Trip was named all region second team pitcher. Chevy Farmer second team second base, Baylor Parker second team short stop and Sam Hendricks was second team outfield.
“I think our region is about to get a little tougher, but that’s no excuse going into next year,” Brock said. “We really are returning about 80 percent of our core players. We have seven starters coming back.”
This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Warrior baseball team has seven players and coach recognized