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South Effingham turns to Bowdon's Eubanks
Todd Eubanks 2018 Bowdon team finished 25-10, advancing to the third round of the Class A playoffs. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

GUYTON -- Todd Eubanks pounced on the opportunity to become South Effingham's head baseball coach.

Eubanks, currently at Bowdon, was well aware of the Mustangs' success on the diamond long before the job came open early this month when John DeRing wasn't retained after two seasons. He became familiar with South Effingham through his association with Tony Kirkland, a former South Effingham head coach who left for Colquitt County nearly a decade ago.

"He and I do Team Georgia together and we've been doing that the past 10 years," Eubanks said. "He's a great man who thinks very fondly of the South Effingham."

Eubanks said he was also impacted by the way a couple of former Mustangs, J.B. Wendelken and Austin Thompson, played for Team Georgia. Wendelken is a pitcher in the Oakland A's organization and Thompson is a Georgia Southern infielder.

"They were influential in the fact that they were kids who played hard and got after it," Eubanks said. "Basically, I was able to see what Tony had been talking about -- that South Effingham was a great place to work and coach."

Eubanks appreciates the importance of baseball at South Effingham.

"I go in with my eyes wide open and excited that it's going to be a great situation," he said. "Hopefully we can continue the South tradition and maybe add to it."

The Mustangs went 16-14 last year, losing in the first round of the state playoffs to Thomas County Central. They finished second to Wayne County in Region 2-AAAAA.

South Effingam will return its top pitchers, including Jakob Valleroy, Josh Berg and Dylan Wallace.

"I've heard that," Eubanks said. "I look forward to working with them."

Eubanks, a native of West Columbia, S.C.,, has been at Bowdon for six years, His 2018 team went 25-10 , losing to Gordon Lee in the third round of the Class AA playoffs.

He also worked six years at Cass.

"I've made a career out going to places that were down on their luck and we were able to have quick turnarounds and have some success," Eubanks said. "It's enjoyable to take programs and build on what's there, and take it to another level."

Eubanks will meet his new team and coaches Friday and will hit the field Tuesday for its first summer league practice.