Although practice doesn’t officially start until Jan. 31, the Liberty County High School baseball team has started conditioning as they prepare for a new region.
At least the Panthers won’t be going into the unknowns of Region 2A-AAAA without experience. Liberty coach Dave Samuel has six starters returning from last year’s 14-12 team to help make the transition easier.
The coach said Matt Desbiens, Dylan Connelly, Joe Watkins, JaVaughn Shuman, Cameron Harris and Brandon Whitmore are his six returning veterans. He said other key players returning are Trey Sikes, Antonio Smith and Sam Wilson.
"Our region looks to be tough," he said. "I’m trying to prepare the boys by telling them we have to be consistent with our play and attitude daily in order to compete at a high level. (But) We cannot use the tough region as an excuse not to do well. I expect a lot of good things this year."
The new region includes a familiar opponent in Richmond Hill, which also made the move to Class AAAA. But it also includes Wayne County, which went 29-5 last year under former BI coach Brad Weir, and Ware County. The Yellow Jackets finished first in the old Region 2-AAAA last season and the Gators were second with a 20-10 overall and 7-5 region record.
Brunswick and Glynn Academy are also in Region 2A-AAAA.
Liberty also has scheduled non-region games against Region 2-AA members Pierce County, McIntosh County Academy and Tattnall County and contests against Region 3A-A teams Bryan County and Savannah Christian. The boys will also play Region 3A-AA Southeast Bulloch.
• Feb. 23, 5:30 p.m., Liberty host Pierce County
• Feb. 26, 3 p.m., Liberty at Pierce County
• Feb. 28, 6 p.m., Liberty at Bryan County
• March 7, 5:30 p.m., Liberty host Southeast Bulloch
• March 11, 6 p.m., Liberty host Richmond Hill*
• March 14 6 p.m. Liberty host Bryan County
• March 15, 6 p.m., Liberty at Brunswick*
• March 18, 6 p.m., Liberty host Wayne County*
• March 19, 1 p.m., Liberty at Savannah Christian
• March 22, 6p.m., Liberty host Ware County*
• March 23, 5:30 p.m., Liberty host McIntosh County Academy
• March 25, 6 p.m., Liberty host Glynn Academy*
• April 1, 6 p.m., Liberty at Richmond Hill*
• April 5, 6 p.m., Liberty host Brunswick*
• April 6, 5:45 p.m., Liberty at Tattnall County
• April 8, 6 p.m., Liberty at Wayne County*
• April 11, 5:30 p.m., Liberty host Tattnall County
• April 12, 6 p.m., Liberty at Ware County*
• April 15, 5:30 p.m., Liberty at Glynn Academy*
• April 16, 1 p.m., Liberty host Savannah Christian
• April 20, 5:30 p.m., Liberty at Southeast Bulloch