Gainesville baseball won its first district title in 30 years last season, and is set to try for back-to-back crowns this year.
That group of kids, and a new coach, are changing the recent narrative around Bulldog baseball.
Gainesville hasn’t always been known as a baseball town.
“My first few years at Gainesville were bad, we weren’t good. That was no fun,” said senior Jake Leeker.
Leeker, and his teammates, set out on a mission to have more fun. The simplest way to do that, win more games.
“We hate losing more than we like winning,” Leeker said.
Last season the Bulldogs found a new coach that shares that mentality. Willard and SBU grad Blake Hobbs.
“I don’t like losing, it’s probably the thing I fear most,” Hobbs said.
Once Hobbs took over, Gainesville fans had little to fear.
“That was our first district championship since 1991, and that was our first quarterfinals appearance since 1976,” said Leeker.
So, mission accomplished right? Well, maybe not yet.
“Don’t be satisfied with what we did last year and we’re not. We want more,” added Leeker.
“I said from the start not to finish at the quarterfinals again, we want to make it to the final four,” said Hobbs.
The Bulldogs are on that path, earning the top seed in their district tournament.
“We get talked to a lot about it, people I don’t even know come up to me and talk to me about it and it’s a good feeling,” said Leeker.
“We won for a community last year, I feel like we’re winning for a community this year,” Hobbs said.
Gainesville recorded their second-straight 18 win season and is looking to reach their first Final Four in school history.