It was a season to be long remembered: a final record of 28-4, a 22-game winning streak, a trip to the state semifinals for the second consecutive year.
The Thomson High School Bulldogs' baseball season ended with a loss to Columbus on May 23, but it was still a special year for coach Jason Osborn and his players.
"They put together a great season. A 28-4 season is nothing to be ashamed of," Osborn said. The coach, who is moving to Lumpkin County to coach softball next season because of
family considerations, said the worst part about losing was knowing that he would no longer be around a special group of kids every day.
Osborn took over the baseball head coaching position from Terry Holder at the beginning of the 2010 season and led the team to 55 wins during his two years at the helm.
But he was modest in assessing his role in the team's success. "This group really understood the game well and played together well," he said.
He had "the ingredients for a very successful team." He also thanked the community for its support. "The big crowds at home really gave the kids a lot of incentive," he said. "I just wanted to say thank you."
The team lost eight seniors to graduation, seven of whom were starters at one time or another, Osborn said. But he believes the players returning next year will maintain the program's tradition.
"It's a hard-working group. They'll give the community something to be proud of." No decision has been made on Osborn's successor, but he has voiced support for assistant coach Aaron Hall.
"He knows the program, knows the kids. I think he would be the right choice," Osborn said.
Athletic Director Milan Turner also expressed pride in the team's success. "I thought they had an extraordinary year," Turner said. "Anytime you make it to the final four in any sport that's an accomplishment." He said Thomson "set the standard as the team to beat" in the area this year.
Noting the success of Columbia County schools in baseball in recent years, he said, "It's nice to know that Thomson High School is considered in the same regard as a lot of those teams."
Turner said the loss of eight seniors is just part of high school sports. "High school kids graduate. We don't go out and recruit. We take the kids we've got." But, like Osborn, he believes the success will
"I expect our baseball program to continue to have a winning tradition," he said. "We have high expectations for all our sports."