High School Baseball

Whale Branch picks Brister to take over varsity baseball team

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comJune 20, 2012 

Josh Brister was on the Whale Branch Early College High School baseball field Tuesday, working with his new team months before the Warriors will think about playing another meaningful game.

This is what helped Brister, a former Battery Creek High School assistant, land his first varsity head coaching job. Whale Branch athletics director Carlos Cave, a former Battery Creek coach, already knew Brister well but was impressed again during the interview, when Brister laid out his thoughts on maintaining a program.

Part of the process includes these days in June. Putting in the work outside the season.

"You win games right now," Cave said. "They're lifting, they're throwing -- everything you can legally do offseason-wise, he's putting those things into play. That alone is where I think he's going to be able to take us to the next level."

Brister, who accepted the Warriors' baseball job vacated by Dean Hawkins, said there would be little building involved after Whale Branch reached the Class 1-A playoffs its first two seasons. Hawkins and the Warriors played for a district title this past season. Brister said the goal would be to advance a little further in 2013, with the long-term goal of becoming a state power.

"The talent is here and the community is behind them," Brister said. "They're not accustomed to losing."

Hawkins resigned after coaching the program's first two seasons to join the Bluffton High School football staff. The Warriors graduated a few key pieces from the group that challenged Lamar for the district title. Brister's early focus has been developing the youth behind them.

Brister is unsure how the Warriors' region schedule will work out in 2013, but is planning a large preseason tournament. The Warrior Classic ideally would include eight to 16 teams from Georgia and South Carolina, he said.

"We'll make a quest to play some bigger schools and see if we can't get better," Brister said.

Brister coached the junior varsity program two seasons at Battery Creek while also assisting varsity coach Dan Tooman. He coached at Whale Branch during its inaugural year before returning to Battery Creek this past school year.

"He's familiar with the kids; he's familiar with the community," Cave said. "He worked with a lot of the same kids when he was at Battery Creek. All that definitely works in his favor."

Battery Creek is also looking for a baseball coach after Tooman resigned to become an assistant principal at Beaufort High School. Dolphins athletics director John Drafts said Tuesday interviews were in progress and that he hoped to have a recommendation by the end of the week.

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