Above: Weber baseball’s five seniors — (from left) Max Harris, Lonnie Edlin, Kyle Rabinowitz, Eric Silver and Michael Asher — hope to win a playoff game for the first time in school history.
Max Harris was a freshman catcher on the Weber School baseball team the last time it qualified for GISA 1AAA region baseball playoffs.
That was 2013, and after an 8-9 season, the Rams were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. Now a senior, Harris has been itching to get back to the postseason.
“To have another opportunity to win a playoff game for the first time in school history would be a pretty big deal,” he said, “something really special for us.”
Harris and the other four seniors on the 2016 Weber baseball team are waiting to learn their postseason fate. Although GISA 1AAA region play doesn’t end until May 1, Weber concluded its regular season Tuesday, April 19, to avoid a conflict with Passover.
The team’s 10-6 record, the second winning season in school history, should be enough to propel seniors Harris, Eric Silver, Kyle Rabinowitz, Lonnie Edlin and Michael Asher to their second postseason — the first for their younger teammates — but they won’t know until the playoffs are set Monday, May 2.
“It’s awesome to see how the program has progressed over the last three years since we were freshman,” first baseman Edlin said.
The Rams had losing campaigns the past two years. Before this season, Weber Athletic Director David Moore promoted Scott Seagraves from assistant to head baseball coach.
Seagraves, who is also the head coach of Weber’s softball team, helped set a new tone for a team that from 2002 to 2015 compiled a 48-106 record overall.
“The players that are here now take this team very seriously,” Seagraves said. “They have a will to compete, a will to win and a will to get better. They feel like they are a part of something where they are building a program for the future.”
The Rams also added a batting cage facility at their field, which Seagraves said has led to a better hitting squad. “Our hitting has allowed us to be in games that we weren’t in last year.”
The Weber pitching staff, following the example of Jewish Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, is made up of five left-handers: Rabinowitz, Daniel Livnat, Zach Negen, Lior Granath and sophomore team captain Eli Katz.
“Typically you have one left-hander or maybe two at most,” said Rabinowitz, who was offered a preferred walk-on spot at Georgia College and State University in the fall to play baseball. “It really helps our team because left-handers are naturally gifted pitchers with a lot of movement on their balls.”
Weber needed to win its final home game April 19 to keep its playoff chances alive. The team turned to sophomore Livnat, who notched seven strikeouts in seven innings as the Rams won 7-3 over Loganville Christian Academy. Rabinowitz had a solo home run.
The Rams finished 10-6 overall and 8-6 in region play.
“It’s been a fun ride,” outfielder Silver said. “I definitely see a huge change in the program with Coach Seagraves. From workouts and before the season started, you could really tell that the team was going to be different than in years past.”
“A lot of teams we played in years past would think it was an easy win when they would face us,” Rabinowitz said. “This year the games we lost have been a lot closer. We’re showing these schools that Weber can be a top contending team in the region playoffs.”
If the Rams do make the GISA playoffs, it will be their last chance to win a postseason game in that association. Next fall the Weber School will switch to Region 5-A of the Georgia High School Association, where Atlanta Jewish Academy competes.
While Weber’s five seniors are waiting to see whether they get to don the blue and gold on the field at least once more, the team’s eight underclassmen have lots to look forward to.
“We’re a really young team, which bodes well for the future,” Seagraves said. “I’ve been around a lot of baseball teams over the years, and this is a group of winners. They believe in themselves. As long as they play smart baseball, they will be successful.”