Terry Holder described this past season's Thomson High School baseball program as successful considering that the team was made up of young players.
"Even though we had several young players, I thought our baseball program took a step forward in the right direction," said Coach Holder, who just completed his third year at Thomson High.
He guided the Bulldogs to a 16-7 overall record - the team eventually ending their season in a single elimination region playoff game against Liberty County. At one point in the season, the Bulldogs were state ranked in Class AAA baseball.
"Several of our young kids, I thought, really came through for us," said Coach Holder. "I was pleased with how well some of them played. Some of them stepped it up for us."
The Bulldogs began stumbling when they encountered the Harlem Bulldogs, who eventually went on to win the Region 3-AAA title.
"We had a bad stretch there where we lost to Cross Creek and Harlem," said Coach Holder. "That took a lot out of us. And as it turned out, it really hurt us as far as our season went."
Thomson finished third in the region standings behind both Harlem and Cross Creek.
Despite the lows of the season, there were several bright improvements that caused the veteran legendary prep baseball coach and his assistant coaches Aaron Hall and Jason Osborn to take notice.
Phillip Anderson was one of those examples. The freshman right-hander worked hard to become the team's No.2 starting pitcher behind senior starting pitcher Stephen Krepps.
"It gave us a 1-2 punch having Phillip and Stephen as our No. 1 and No. 2 starting pitchers," said Coach Holder. "Phillip also gave us some offensive punch with his bat. That was something again that we weren't really expecting."
Anderson is expected to become the team's No.1 starting pitcher next season as a sophomore.
Krepps, who played two years at Thomson High School after transferring from Hephzibah High in Richmond County, will be one of four graduating seniors leaving the team for college.
"Krepps gave our baseball program a big boost the last two years," said Coach Holder. "He's a fine pitcher, a very good student and an excellent role model for our kids to follow."
Another player that impressed Coach Holder with his strong play this past season was senior catcher Weston Meehan.
"Weston Meehan had a tremendous senior season," said Coach Holder. "He carried us the first half of the season with his bat. He also showed a lot of improvement behind the plate."
Another senior who will be highly missed is Austin Phillips, who played second base and was a starting pitcher, too.
"Phillips was one of our team leaders," said Coach Holder. "He really came through for us, especially down the stretch. I couldn't be more proud of him."
The other senior on the team, Clint Rushing, a lefty relief pitcher, also "did a fine job" when called upon for bullpen duties, said Coach Holder.
Two other players praised by Coach Holder included Cody Ewest, who became a starting outfielder during his freshman season and moved this season to third base, and junior shortstop Zack Washington.
"We didn't expect Ewest to have the kind of power that he exhibited with his bat," said Coach Holder. "It was a pleasant surprise."
Washington, meanwhile, a rising senior, "really helped us, defensively," added Coach Holder. "He's just got to work on his hitting. We're expecting him to come around and do a good job for us both offensively and defensively next season."