The South Georgia Raiders, a local 18-and-under traveling baseball team, are gearing up for their second season and looking for more players.
The team is open to all high schoolers and is a part of the Savannah Chain Fall Baseball League. Matt Morris, a Southeast Bulloch High School graduate and Georgia Southern student, founded the Raiders in 2006 and serves as the head coach.
“Players will be able to sharpen their baseball skills and have a chance at furthering their career by playing in front of college scouts,” said assistant coach Derrick Smith, who played baseball at Florida State and Georgia Southern.
Tryouts will be held Saturday, Aug. 25, at Southeast Bulloch at 10 a.m., and the team will hold its practices at SEB.
The Raiders did well during their inaugural season, the highlight being two wins and a 10th-place finish at the Fall Nationals in St. Augustine, Fla., last October. This year, the Raiders will play in top tournaments in Georgia and Florida, including two in East Cobb and a return trip to St. Augustine.
“Twenty or 30 colleges come to Fall Nationals, so it’s a big opportunity,” Morris said. “Plus, we face some of the best talent in the South.”
Colleges are already eyeing some of the Raiders, and the team’s coaches are hoping to garner more exposure for their players. Along with Smith, former Brewton-Parker player Art Harris will serve as an assistant coach this year.
“We are really lucky to have them come out this year,” said Morris, who met Smith in a class at Georgia Southern. Smith was eager to get involved with the Raiders.
“I enjoy coaching and working with players and Coach Morris,” said Smith, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree at GSU. “I love baseball and plan on coaching full-time one day.”
Top returning players include Portal pitcher Brett Rivers and Statesboro outfielder Carlton Hendrix. The Raiders will be looking to fill the void left by Portal outfielder Jordan Clark and are expecting to have players from all over the area.
“We’ve had interest from 10 or 15 different high schools within about a two-hour radius of Statesboro,” Morris said. “We look to have a strong team this fall with a good group of new talent coming in to join some of the old guys.”
Raider coaches thanked SEB coach Stephen Hoyle for accommodating the team and Statesboro’s Chris Bishop and Portal’s Tendai Haggins for recommending players.
Participation costs are $550 per player. For more information, contact Morris at email@example.com or go to the team’s website at www.southgeorgiaraiders.webpaint.com.
Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.