New Year, New Region: Bears Face New Competition in Upcoming Baseball Games

This photo is from a game in 2020, the Bears were against Alpharetta.

Provided by Sherry Freidrick

This photo is from a game in 2020, the Bears were against Alpharetta.

Matthew Ridenour, Staff Writer

After two years of being in the Region 7-6A division, The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) decided in 2019 to switch up the region alignments for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years.

In the seasons before the division reclassification, the Bears faced Dunwoody, Centennial, Chattahoochee, North Atlanta, Northview, John’s Creek, Pope and Alpharetta.

The Bears are still in the Region 7-6A division, but there are a few new high schools in the region for the next two seasons. Riverwood, Sequoyah, River Ridge and Creekview joined the division this year and will face the Bears this upcoming season along with Centennial, John’s Creek and Chattahoochee High schools.

While North Atlanta, Northview, Pope, Dunwoody and Alpharetta High Schools were reclassified to lower divisions and the schools that were not mentioned remained in their division.

The Bears liked having shorter traveling distances to the games, but with the new teams in the division, some of the commuting might take a little longer.

“The coaches and I will enjoy the new experiences of playing different teams that we have not played for the last few years and also we will lose relationships with coaches [that we have played in previous seasons],” said Head Varsity Baseball Coach Evan Tieles about playing in a different division than previous seasons.

With travel times and new schools to play, the team lost one of their rivalries with Alpharetta because of how close Milton is with Alpharetta and a lot of these players played in the same recreational and travel ball leagues.

With the new schools in the division, new rivalries could be created over the upcoming baseball seasons.

“I will miss playing some of the teams, because over the years, we built some sort of rivalry that we lost only because we won’t play them again,” said senior Bryce Becker who plays pitcher, outfield and third base for the Bears.

New teams in the division means new challenges. With four new schools that the Bears have never played, there is an element of surprise, which may stir feelings of caution.

However, the Bears are not worried and are confident in competing with their new opponents.

“We have a very demanding schedule overall. We like to play the best. Being in a new region will be tough since we do not have the same familiarity with these teams as we did with our previous region,” said Varsity Baseball Assistant Coach Henry Rowling.

The challenges to playing new teams every few years is having a lack of film on the new team but also the coaches are not familiar with the other teams’ styles of play or do not know their coaches or players.

The team will also play in one tournament this season — the Georgia Dugout Club tournament — against out-of-region teams.

The season will assumably end on April 23, where they will face the Centennial Knights, if there are not any complications with Covid-19 or weather.