RANBURNE — Chad Young has found success at Ranburne often, but things clicked perfectly this past baseball season.
The Ranburne head coach led the Bulldogs to the Class 2A state semifinals, won the 2A, Area 10 championship and finished the season 23-9.
As a result, Young is The Anniston Star’s all-area baseball coach of the year.
“This is one of the best teams I’ve played with thus far with everyone playing together and as a team,” Ranburne senior Spencer Gibbs said.
“Everyone really came together.”
Young indicated the Bulldogs’ run to the semifinals happened because the team hit well and made the routine plays on defense.
“In high school baseball, you don’t have to make extraordinary plays, you just have to make the ordinary ones,” Young said. “But, every now and then we’d make extraordinary ones that would help us now and then. We could hit the ball throughout the order, and one through nine, you didn’t really know who was batting.”
The perfect example, Young said, came from Wade Richardson, who hit ninth in Ranburne’s order.
“I left him in the nine spot because he was a really good fastball hitter. For most of the year he hit over .400 and had a lot of RBIs and got on base,” he said. “He probably had the quickest hands on the team, but he was hitting in the nine hole because I never could really move him because he was seeing the ball down there.
“When we got back to the top, it was like starting all over again.”
Ranburne will have replace Richardson, Gibbs, Mark David Smith and Cole Yearta, who graduated.
Academically, the Ranburne baseball team had some stars there, too. Gibbs was the senior class’ valedictorian, and Yearta was the salutatorian.