The Weber School wins second GHSA baseball series within a week, will face Crawford County in Quarterfinals

What a difference a week makes.

A week ago, The Weber School (20-9) had never won a GHSA baseball playoff matchup and was set to play two-seeded Darlington in the first round of the Class A-DI 2024 GHSA baseball state playoffs. Now The Weber School has won its second playoff series in the program’s history and its second in two weeks.

In one of the biggest stories of the 2024 GHSA baseball state championships across all classes, The Weber School continues their hot playoff stretch this time as Jasper County fell at the hands of the Rams as they will move onto the quarterfinals for the first time in program history.

The Rams won the first game 18-14 and 8-6 in the second game of their second round series against Jasper County.

“The keys to beating Jasper Co. were our hitting and home field advantage,” said Weber baseball head coach Alan NeSmith.  “Normally in a game we rely on good pitching and defense to win. But Monday we set a season high scoring 18 runs in game one, and 26 total runs over the two games. And on top of that having so many fans come out during our Passover Break to cheer us on really gave us a boost. That was the biggest crowd in my time at Weber, and our players really loved that!”

The first game of the series was highlighted by the Rams offense as The Weber School totaled five home runs by five different players (Joshua Greenspon, Sam Rosenthal, Josh Wolkin, Isaac Brody, and Mark Grosswald) on the way to scoring 18 runs to defeat the Purple Hurricanes. Elan Lieberman and Danya Naturman led at the plate for the Rams as Lieberman had three hits in four at-bats including an RBI and Naturman going two-for-four in game one. In total, the Rams registered 14 hits in the first game on their way to scoring double-digit runs for the first time this postseason.

While offense was the name of the game in the first game of the series, defense played more of a factor in game two as the Rams won 8-6.

Josh Wolkin led the charge for the Rams on the mound with seven strikeouts over six innings pitched, while Naturman came in for the seventh and delivered three strikeouts to seal the victory.

The defensive efforts from the Rams could be summed up by a diving double play from Isaac Brody on the first baseline to get The Weber School out of the inning and eventually onto the quarterfinals.

“Those big plays kept our team pumped through the long night against Jasper County,” said NeSmith. “But really, all our players have proven to themselves what they’re capable of during the regular season and playoffs, so we hope to keep that confidence and positivity as we look ahead to the next round.”

Though they had not won a GHSA baseball playoff series until last week, the playoff run the Rams are on does not come by a shock to the coaches and the players of The Weber School that have worked hard all season to get to this point.

“I’m not surprised by our success in the first two rounds because our players have bought into the culture change and worked hard in the off-season as well as the regular season,” said NeSmith. “We came off a 5-14 record last year, so once we broke .500 during the regular season this year, our players started to see the payoff. We just kept gaining momentum after that. Each game we have the same mindset — win the inning. If we focus on taking things one inning at a time and win more innings than we lose, then we will win most of our games.”

The culture change has resulted in the Weber Rams becoming one of the top stories in Georgia high school baseball as they have become one of the hottest teams in the state. Although they have celebrated the wins throughout the playoff run, the Rams know they have plenty of work to do to get to where they want to go.

“It felt amazing to make history by making it to the playoffs, but we were ecstatic after winning the first round,” said NeSmith. “After we beat Darlington, Coach Larry gave our team a lot of praise and encouragement for the next round, and that meant a lot since Darlington was in the GHSA semifinal last year. Getting encouragement from other coaches and our own school families has been really positive too. When we got back from Rome, our whole team was really excited about preparing for the next round. So we just got busy because we knew we had to.”

In their next test, the Rams will face a Crawford County team who holds a record of 25-7 on the season and swept Pelham and Metter in their first and second round matchups.

“Any team who wins 25 games has had a great season and has to be taken very seriously,” said NeSmith. “I think our coaching staff, captains, and all the players realize we still have not reached our ultimate goal and that’s winning a state title. So we know we’re going to have to work hard, one inning at a time to get past Crawford.”

After celebrating Passover last week with a Seder after their series against Darlington, the Rams will welcome in Shabbat on Friday night in the team hotel before their series begins Saturday against Crawford County at 4 p.m.


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