Time to turn the page

dshirley@macon.comJune 1, 2014 

tattnall_tift

Tattnall’s Dakota Long left gets congratulations after a three-run homer in the fifth inning of the first game of the GISA Championship series Friday. Tattnall beat Tiftarea in the first game, 18-3.

BEAU CABELL — bcabell@macon.com Buy Photo

It felt strange late Friday night, thinking about Tattnall Square’s latest GISA baseball championship.

It definitely felt familiar as the Trojans won their eighth title in 15 years, but it also marked a turning of the page for the GISA, Mount de Sales, Stratford and Tattnall Square. Those three schools are leaving for the GHSA this fall, and Tattnall’s baseball title marked the three schools’ final competition in the GISA.

And the Trojans’ championship romp of Tiftarea on Friday showed one of the main reasons why the schools are leaving: competition (travel is another one).

Tiftarea cruised through the first three rounds of the GISA Class AAA playoffs, but the Panthers proved no match for the Trojans. Tattnall won the two games 18-3 and 7-3 as it captured its third straight title and eighth since 2000. It was a blowout from start to finish, and that has played out on fields and courts throughout this school year to show again that these schools need stronger competition moving forward.

The Macon schools have long been the center of the GISA, and that was true again this year. Tattnall also won the softball title, and its boys basketball team reached the Final Four. Stratford’s boys basketball and boys tennis teams claimed titles, while its football, girls basketball and boys and girls soccer teams lost in their respective championship games.

That kind of dominance, which isn’t new, isn’t good for the GISA or the three Macon schools and their athletes. The GISA has been good for these schools for many years, for sure, and the schools have been good for the GISA. But it’s time for them to move on.

The GHSA definitely will offer a step up in competition, and that’s a good thing. State championships might not be the goal as much as competing for region titles and playoff berths, but there’s nothing wrong with that. That said, FPD has shown it can compete in the GHSA the past few years, and there is no doubt the three new members from Bibb County will hold their own, as well.

Without the three Macon schools and many smaller schools moving to the GICAA, the GISA will have a new look. In fact, Bibb County will have just one remaining GISA school (Windsor) as CFCA and Covenant are among the schools moving to the GICAA. Other Middle Georgia schools will remain in the GISA, including Westfield, but the association will move forward with a much different landscape, and it will be interesting to see how the GISA and GICAA coexist.

Whatever happens with those leagues, Mount de Sales, Stratford and Tattnall are headed down a new path. It’s one their fans should be excited about.

Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or dshirley@macon.com

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