The Patriots have now set two other goals — achieve a winning record for the first time in eight seasons and make the state playoffs for only the third time in 27 years.
“The last time we made the playoffs was in 2003 and it would be great for these kids to get to the postseason because everyone strives for the chance to win a state championship,” second-year head coach Zachery Cook said.
Paulding County has eight region contests left on the schedule and control its fate to place in the top four of Region 5-AAAAA. “We’re installed work ethic into the program by trying to fight and compete because we can beat anybody,” said Cook.
The Patriots have been led by three seniors, catcher Aaron King, third baseman Dylan Peeples and centerfielder Justin Naylor. “They’ve taken the initiative to show the younger guys how to play the game hard and change the way we’re looked at in the county,” Cook said.
King has been an all-county catcher the past two seasons and continued his strong play by hitting for a .481 batting average at the plate. Peebles has also hit well for the Patriots, sporting a .368 average.
Naylor’s fielding has been noted as saving runs throughout the season by the coaching staff.
The pitching staff has been led by juniors Dustin Gore and Elijah Willingham.
“We’ve been more disciplined as a team and I’m glad that the younger players have a chance to have more successful years here,” Peeples said.
Paulding County returns to action on Thursday at home against East Paulding.