The Mickey Moody-coached Spalding High Jaguars reached the Class AAA state finals where they pushed defending state champ Columbus to three games, and the Don Hanson-coached Pike County High Pirates reached the Class AA state finals where they pushed Buford to three games. Throw in the fact just a few miles west of us the Whitewater Wildcats fell to eventual state champion Marist in the Class AAAA state semifinals and it’s easy to see baseball was flourishing throughout the area this year.
While a number of head coaches in this area have met with great success in recent seasons — Griffin High head coach Jamie Cassady guided the Bears to the 2008 Class AAAA state finals, Hanson guided the Pirates to the 2011 state finals and Moody guided the Jaguars to the 2004 Class AAA state semifinals and 2011 state finals — there is another name local coaches know and respect as a dominant force on the local high school baseball scene.
Sal Argila is the common thread that runs through the 2008 state finalist team at Griffin and the 2011 state finalist team at Spalding — he was an assistant on both teams. Furthermore, Argila, who was the head coach at Spalding High between 2001-2003, also laid some of the foundation for the team’s successful run in 2004.
In short, every place he has been the teams meet with success just after he leaves or shortly after he arrives.
To people who know Argila this comes as no surprise. He’s a tireless worker, working year-round to make the program better. From field maintenance to throwing copious amounts of batting practice and spending countless hours working on bullpen sessions, you couldn’t find a better assistant. His forte has been working with pitchers and catchers.
In short, he makes those around him — players and coaches alike — better.
To say he’s dedicated is an abuse of the word. It doesn’t begin to do justice to the energy and expertise Argila brings into a program.
At lunch one day this week with Spalding High Principal Derrell Jeffcoat, he told me during a recent conversation he had someone told him: “You’re lucky to have two coaches who are as good, if not better, than a lot of junior college coaches in the state.”
Of course, they were referring to Moody and Argila.
Couldn’t agree any more.
Former Griffin High standout Bobby Rainey is enjoying another banner season as the featured running back at Western Kentucky University.
The former Griffin High graduate, who finished third in the nation last year in rushing yards (1,649) and second in the nation in total yards from scrimmage (1,879) as a junior in addition to leading it in carries (340) at the NCAA Division I level, is off and running again this season.
Through seven games Rainey has rushed 203 times for 910 yards and 8 rushing touchdowns, the highlight being a 206-yard, 3-touchdown game against Louisiana-Lafayette this past weekend. He also has 25 receptions for 239 yards and 2 TDs this season. He has rushed for 100 or more yards in every game this season except for one.
Rainey is hoping to latch on in the NFL after his collegiate career ends. With five more game left this season — including a game at 8 p.m. on Nov. 12 at LSU — it appears he’s making a pretty good case for himself.
Former Spalding High basketball standout Shakeva Richards, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, will be playing close to home this season when her current team, Old Dominion University, ventures to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech at 2 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the Gwinnett Arena.
There will be a bus traveling to the game for anyone interested in going. The price is $15 and covers admission into the game as well as the bus fare. All money is due by Nov. 7 to secure tickets. Call (678) 478-6158 with any questions.
(John Sullivan is the sports editor at the Griffin Daily News.)