Weber School makes GHSA baseball playoffs for first time in school history

The Weber School, a small predominantly-Jewish private high school in Atlanta has been playing baseball since 2007 and had never made it to the GHSA state playoffs. That all changed this season as the Rams not only made the postseason, but advanced to the second round, locking in their first postseason berth and victory in their 17-year history of the program.

The high school joined the GHSA in 2016 after being a member of the Georgia Independent School Association for over 20 years.

“It’s an amazing feeling! Quite honestly, it’s very emotional,” said Weber head baseball coach Alan NeSmith. “Our field was completely renovated this year so we already had some history-making moments this year like the first night game in school history (Night Ball). Then we set a new record for most wins in a season (previous record was 12 wins, we’re currently 18-9 this year). So making the playoffs and winning the first round has just made this season even more special.”

Back in 2016 when the school joined the GHSA, Weber had around 75-percent of its students playing sports for the Rams in their athletic department.

This season, the Rams baseball program made the GHSA Class A-DI playoffs for the first time in school history. In the first round, Weber defeated Darlington in a three-game series, winning games two and three by scores of 7-0 and 5-4 after losing the first game by seven runs, 11-4.

The team is led by captains who are made up of seniors Joshua Greenspon, Sam Rosenthal, Ethan Goodhart, and junior Josh Wolkin.

“Joshua Greenspon is the heart and soul of the team.  All our guys on the team work hard in practice and our captains have really provided strong leadership to help them out,” said NeSmith.

Greenspon is one of the top hitters for the Rams this season, hitting .348 at the plate with a 1.038 on-base plus slugging, accumulating 24 runs and two home runs on the season. Rosenthal and Wolkin have combined to become RBI-machines for Weber, totaling 34 RBIs between the two including 31 total runs, creating some offense at the plate.

Though Wolkin’s presence at the plate is impactful, on the mound he is just as dangerous, totaling 46 strikeouts over 43.2 innings pitched. In game two, Wolkin pitched in seven innings and totaled six strikeouts.

Elan Liberman, who hit .355 for 19 RBIs through the first round has also made a huge impact on both sides of the ball, totaling 25 strikeouts in 26.2 innings pitched. Following Liberman is Ethan Goodhart who adds another arm to the pitching rotation for the Rams with 29.1 innings pitched and 33 strikeouts.

Though he has been injured for the past month, one of the best pitchers for the Rams, Isaac Brody, played a huge role during the regular season for Weber. Brody accounted for 43 strikeouts, and a 1.11 ERA through 25.1 innings. Brody was an All-Region pitcher during his sophomore season with the Rams.

After going 25-32-1 over the last three seasons, including a 5-14 record last season, the Weber School baseball team this season finished with its best record in school history going 18-9. NeSmith credits the team and the coaches for helping to change the culture of the program to get them to where they currently are.

“The biggest change when I took over last year as head coach was building a positive team culture,” said NeSmith. “All our coaches and captains emphasize that there is no one player who is bigger than the team. Everyone has to work together to have a shot at winning.”

In the midst of its first playoff run in school history, the baseball program has received an enormous amount of support from the school which has provided a spark for the Rams and their efforts on the field.

“It means everything. It validates all the hard work the players are putting in during the season as well as the off-season,” NeSmith said. “We’re getting so much support from other students, the school faculty and admin, and from the community. It’s an incredible feeling to have so many people backing us.”

After the second game of the first round series, Weber went back to the team hotel and celebrated the second night of Passover with all coaches and players involved.

“Celebrating Passover after that big win in game two to tie up the series only brought our team closer,” said Greenspon. “Passover has always been a huge part of my family growing up and still is today. Being able to celebrate it with this team was just like celebrating it at home. I definitely think it brought us closer not only as a team but as a family and it allowed us to come out the next day to get the series win and move on to the next round.”

NeSmith credited Darlington’s baseball staff for working with them for the scheduling of these games including their doubleheader on Tuesday, to make sure the Weber baseball team was able to have a proper Sedar for the holiday.

“We really appreciated how Coach Larry at Darlington worked with us on scheduling the doubleheader so our players could be done in time for Seder meals,” said NeSmith. “Our team parents are great, and they worked together with the players to plan a team Seder in the event room at the hotel. It was a really great team bonding experience and something that all of us will always remember!”

After defeating Darlington, the Rams advanced to the second round as they are one of 16 teams remaining in the single-elimination tournament. With the first round series victory, Weber will face Jasper County in the second round.



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