The Bulldogs, led by second-year head coach Brandon Brown, improved from 2009’s 2-12 season. They won their first area game in several years this season, and swept rival TC Central. Brown takes it as a sign the team is looking up.
“This year we were teaching basics and fundamentals,” Brown said. “Our rallying cry was ‘respect the game.’ I want them to play the game the right way. But we still have a long way to go.”
Brown has been scheduling tougher opponents for Winterboro. The Bulldogs lost two one-run games to Lincoln and Wadley this season. He puts a large emphasis on earning the respect of the bigger schools.
“We took more away from those losses than any of the wins,” Brown said. “We’re not afraid of anybody, and I don’t want to play sorry 1A teams. We’ll schedule more teams like that next year.”
Brown started off as an assistant coach at Fayetteville, so he’s used to winning. He said he wants the Winterboro program to be his legacy.
Winterboro missed the playoff boat by one area game this year, but was in the running up until the season finale. A loss to Wadley knocked them out of contention, but Winterboro was playing without five starters, including its lone senior.
The Bulldogs appear to have plenty to look forward to next season, and pitcher Josh Quinn is one of those bright spots.
The junior struck out an astounding 62 batters in 36 innings this season.
“He’s our ace,” Brown said. “He’s the go-to guy. When we have to have a win, we give the ball to him. He pounds the strike zone, has a good fastball and tweaked his changeup. If you struck out, you struck out swinging.”
Quinn pitched in nine games this season posting a 2-4 record. He had a team-best earned run average of 4.86. At the plate, he batted .433 with 13 hits, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored.
“My junior year has gone pretty good,” Quinn said. “I still have one more year, so I’m going to keep working hard over the summer, trying to get better.”
Quinn credits his coaches and family for his success in 2011. He is hungry for 75 Ks in 2012, along with at least 10 team wins.
He said in the past couple years several players quit the team, but he can’t walk away, and wants a playoff berth more than anything.
“I love the game,” Quinn said. “I just can’t quit on baseball. It hurt to lose when we were so close to the playoffs. I wouldn’t care if we didn’t win in the first round, I just want to make the playoffs. It would make my senior year.”
Contact Wesley Sinor at firstname.lastname@example.org.