BRUNSWICK, Ga. – It’s Brunswick High against Glynn Academy.
Really, that’s probably all that needs to be said as the Pirates and Red Terrors get ready to clash on the baseball field this week.
But with both teams playing well coming into the three-game series which opens Monday night, the outcomes in these games could ultimately decide the Region 2-AAAAAA championship.
And both teams know as much, but their respective head coaches are trying to keep their players on an even keel going into the rivalry match-up.
“It’s obviously an important series like all region series are,” said Glynn coach Trent Mongero. “We can’t get caught up on who the opposition is. My main goal is to keep our guys focused on what we can control.”
Brunswick head coach Brian Crawford echoed those sentiments.
“Everyone is looking forward to this series,” he said. “It’s going to be a great environment. They have a brand new ballpark. We have new grandstands at our place. Glynn is obviously the defending region champion and has gotten a lot of hype, but the key for us is to continue what we’re doing and what we know how to do.”
What the Pirates and Terrors have both been doing is winning games.
Brunswick enters the week with a 13-6 record after taking two of three games against a ranked Richmond Hill team last week to open region play.
Glynn brings a 16-1 record into the week after sweeping three games against Bradwell Institute in its opening league series last week. The Terrors began the spring with 12 straight victories before losing 7-4 at South Effingham in extra innings on March 13. They bounced back to deck the Mustangs two days later before then rolling past the Tigers last week.
The Terrors were ranked second last week in Class 6A by the Georgia Dugout Club while the Pirates were ranked 10th.
“Brunswick is very well-coached,” Mongero said. “They are solid all the way around, and they’re young. They have nothing to lose, and they have that free-spirit mindset. They’re playing very well.”
Crawford said the Pirates also have great respect for the Terrors, especially seniors Will Bowdoin and Randon Jernigan, two of the premier players in the state. Bowdoin, who is 7-0 on the mound for the Terrors, is headed to Mercer University while center fielder Jernigan, who leads Glynn in batting with an average just under .600, is bound for Athens to play for the Georgia Bulldogs.
“Will Bowdoin is going to fill it up,” the BHS coach noted, referring to the strike zone. “He’s going to go right at you and challenge the barrel. That’s his philosophy. Jernigan is Jernigan. The best thing to do is go at him and let him challenge himself. But he’s going to do what he’s going to do. His speed is his speed.”
While the respect is there for the other opponent, the gamesmanship has already started between the sides.
Brunswick was slated to have the home-field advantage on the schedule, meaning it would get two home games in the series as it would against any other region opponent in that same situation.
Originally, though, the first game was to be played at BHS before the series shifted to Glynn’s new Wainwright Field for the second game. Game 3 was slated to be played at Edo Miller Park, which used to be the home field for both schools before becoming Glynn’s home when the Pirates got their new field at the new high school.
But the Pirates had a change of heart after playing at Edo Miller during the Baseball at the Beach tournament early in the season. Friday’s series finale will now be played at Brunswick.
“That’s not a neutral field,” Crawford said, referring to the historic park. “There are red and white Glynn Academy signs posted everywhere. There was no way we were going to play the third game of the series there. They could go in and paint everything beige this week, but it’s still not going to happen.”
Mongero said he had no problem with the venue change for the closing game.
“I respect that,” he said. “It’s their home game.”
All three games this week are slated for a 6 p.m. start.
Both coaches were also coy last week when asked if they had determined their starting pitching rotations for the series.
Mongero simply said the Terorrs were leaning toward starting Bowdoin in the opener, but he would not commit to that in a Saturday phone conversation. Glynn’s other two starting pitchers this week figure to be Hill Hartman and Paul Hegeman.
Crawford also wouldn’t reveal his pitching plans, saying only that Marshall Cox, Harrison Trawick, Anthony Cleveland and Hunter Goff would all be ready for Monday’s opening game.
Both coaches are in their first seasons as the skipper of their teams, but only Crawford has coached in a Brunswick-Glynn rivalry game. He is also the head girls softball coach at Brunswick and has been an assistant baseball coach at both schools.
Mongero is in his first season with the Terrors after steering North Hall to its first-ever state championship last spring.
“It should be a great series. We’re looking forward to it,” Mongero said. “It’s going to boil down to execution, just like it would at any level of the game.”
“It’s really talent against talent,” he said. “It’s how you match up and whether you take advantage of opportunities.”
The Glynn County Sports Hall of Fame will once again award a Player of the Series honor to one deserving player following the completion of the three-game set. This will be the fourth year the local hall of fame has sponsored the award after partnering with the Glynn County Schools Athletic Department to provide the honor each year.
A Glynn player has won the award each of the last three years. Bowdoin won it as a freshman in 2015, Chad Wallen won it the next year and Hegeman won it last year as a freshman.
Last season, the Terrors won the opening two games of the series before the Pirates won the third meeting.