Westside High School baseball Coach Gerald Barnes’ final regular season home game of his career ends with a 10-0 victory over Laney on Friday, April 22 at Gerald Barnes Field.
Barnes is retiring from Westside as Georgia’s winningest all-time public high school baseball coach. He has more than 900 wins in his career as Westside’s baseball coach and is one of five coaches in state history with over 700 wins.
After Friday’s game, Barnes was welcomed on the field with former players, family and friends who have been a part of his long journey as a coach.
“It’s really good to see these guys. I haven’t seen many of them in a long period of time,” Barnes said. “It’s amazing, I surprised there is so many people from all those different years here. It’s just a real honor to me they came and help me celebrate.”
Barnes became Westside’s baseball coach in 1976 and has been there for 46 years. He brought the Patriots back-to-back state titles in 1987 and 1988 and 40 consecutive winning seasons. He also was inducted to the Georgia Dugout Hall of Fame in 2004.
As his career is closing, Barnes spoke about what he would miss most after it is all over.
“You miss the people. You miss the sport of coaching. I think I will miss that probably more than any of it,” he said. “You will miss the people that have supported us and ones that have played here, who have turned out to be really good people and done good things outside of baseball. We have had a lot of success here, but we have also had a lot of people who have had success in life and that’s the most special thing to me.”
After the game, Barnes was given many awards and even praise by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Local talk show host Austin Rhodes surprised Barnes with a special note from Gov. Kemp after the game praising his historic career as a Georgia High School baseball coach.
The Westside baseball team will now head into the playoffs as a three-seed in their region.
“We lost some games that were really close, so that could have made a big difference, but were in the playoffs and were a third seed and glad for that. Will see what happens, we will get a couple of chances and who knows baseball, we might keep it going a little longer.”
The Patriots first game of the playoffs is to be announced.