Baseball is still being played at Hermance Stadium at Oglethorpe University.
However, it is not the Stormy Petrels of Oglethorpe playing in those games; it is the Brookhaven Bucks. The Bucks are a collegiate summer baseball team which competes in the Sunbelt Baseball League, Georgia’s collegiate wooden-bat baseball league.
The league launched 10 years ago, and the Brookhaven Bucks were founded five years later by John Davis and Brad Dickison. Dickison took over the team three years ago.
“I work with the commissioner of the league to try to build and expand it so we can catch up to other leagues, [such as] the Cape Cod and the Coastal Plain League,” Dickison said. “We’re moving fast, we’re getting in the right direction.”
The Sunbelt Baseball League is sanctioned by Major League Baseball, and it allows MLB scouts to see players play with wooden bats, as opposed to the aluminum bats they play with in college.
“We’ll have scouts at the games, and this is basically a chance for [the players] to get seen by pro scouts, and to [play] during the summer,” Dickison said. “I have players out of college that [have] coaches who are calling me, and they want them to stay in practice.”
Deric Boone, a Druid Hills High School graduate, is one of those players. Boone, a rising junior at Southern Union State University, began playing with the Bucks last summer.
“My summer ball coach knew one of the coaches from last year and he talked to him and got me on the team last year,” he said. “I did pretty good last year, and they called me out again this year.”
Boone said he has enjoyed playing with the Bucks, and it has helped improved his baseball skills.
“Baseball is more of an everyday sport,” he said. “You can’t take a lot of time off and stay at your peak. It’s good to see good baseball over the summer.”
Boone hopes to get drafted into the major leagues like some other alums of the Brookhaven Bucks. On June 10, Bucks outfielder London Lindley was drafted by the Texas Rangers.
“We’re happy for him,” Dickison said.
Other players who have played for the Bucks that were drafted include Nic Wilson, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 24th round in 2014. Wilson, a Decatur High School graduate and former player for Georgia State University, played for the Bucks in 2012.
“These are college players who hope to be able to move to the next level,” Dickison said. “Of course it’s a very small percentage of athletes in the country that ever get here, but these are the best of the best here.”
The team has improved each year, going from a 12-9 in 2011 to a 19-10 team last season. The baseball club brought in Corey Patterson, who played 12 years in Major League Baseball, to coach the team this season.
Patterson is a 1998 graduate of Harrison High School in Kennesaw and was a member of the 1998 state championship baseball team. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs as the third overall pick that same year. He was also a member of the St. Louis Cardinals team that won the World Series in 2011.
Dickison said the Brookhaven Bucks have become a sought-after team to play for.
“We’re just getting better talent all the time, which leads to better opportunities to hire people like Corey and his staff,” he said.
Although the Bucks are playing good baseball and has the best record in the Sunbelt, there are not many people there to see them win. Dickison hopes to change that soon.
“I want the stands to be full,” he said. “At the coastal Carolina leagues, every [game] is sold out for the entire summer.
There’s nothing more fun than having people in the stands. When these people start cheering them and putting the antlers up and getting into it, you can see a difference in how they play. The true goal is to bring Brookhaven out.”
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