Lowndes High School has its new softball coach.
The two-time reigning Region 1-AAAAA champions will now be coached by former Valdosta State baseball player, Stewart Thomas, who was approved for hire at the May Lowndes County School Board Meeting, according to Lynne Wilson, the Director of Public Relations for the County School System.
Thomas will replace Alex Gray, who resigned from the head coaching position in March, despite enjoying success with the Vikettes.
Thomas brings one-year of head softball coaching experience to Lowndes, as he served as the head coach at Walton High School in Marietta last year. He led the Raiders to a 13-13 record and a fifth place finish in Region 5-AAAAA.
While at Walton, Thomas also worked with the Raiders’ baseball team, serving as the pitching coach for the program. Prior to his season at Walton, Thomas worked as an assistant baseball coach for four seasons at McEachern High School.
A graduate of VSU, Thomas earned his bachelor’s degree in Education with an emphasis in History. He was a member of the Blazers’ 2005 and 2006 baseball teams, playing under the direction of then-head coach Tommy Thomas. He is married to Deaven Hadsock Thomas, of Lakeland.
Thomas will inherit a winning program in Lowndes, which, along with its back-to-back region titles, made an appearance in the 2010 Class 5A Elite Eight and the 2011 Sweet 16. During its two-year run of success under Gray, Lowndes recorded a 43-20 record.
For Valdosta, school administration is in the process of hiring its second head coach in three months. In March, the school system approved the hire of former Valdosta State All-American Kristina Ely. But last month, Ely informed the school administration that she was unable to take the position, citing personal reasons.
Ely’s sudden backing out of the position left the Wildcat program scattering to find a new head coach. As of Friday afternoon, a new coach had not been named by Athletic Director Rance Gillespie, although he did say the school is close to landing its next head coach.
“We basically have the person,” Gillespie said. “We are very excited and we will release that information at the appropriate time.”
While Lowndes has been the top team in the region the past few seasons, Valdosta has been the complete opposite. The Lady Wildcats were just 9-40 the past two seasons under the direction of then-head coach Adam Haire.
The Vikettes open the regular season Aug.17 versus Lassiter and opens region play Aug. 28, with a doubleheader against Colquitt County. Valdosta opens the regular season Aug. 20 with a doubleheader versus Worth County.
Valdosta narrowing in on new coaching candidate
Lowndes High School has its new softball coach.
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For the third time in four years, and second in a row, Valdosta State’s softball team will play in the national championship tournament.
The Blazers won their third South Region championship Saturday, beating Alabama-Huntsville 8-3 in game three of the best-of-three series at Steel’s Diamond at Blazer Park.
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Blazers lose to Delta State, fall to loser’s bracket
If the Valdosta State baseball team is going to win the South Region Tournament, the Blazers going to have to do it from the loser’s bracket.
The Blazers (33-17) dropped their first game of the tournament Thursday, falling to Delta State 4-2 at UT Baseball Stadium.
VSU will face Stillman College, which lost to No. 1 seed and tournament host Tampa Thursday, Friday at 11 a.m. to advance to the weekend portion of the tournament. The loser will be eliminated.
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