Lions demolish top-notch opponents, make regional playoffs
   To be the best, you must play the best. The Lions took this advice to heart as they competed against the most difficult schedule in school history and proceeded to punish their victims with top-notch play.
   "We were excited to show these perennial powerhouses we knew how to play too," said junior Chris Whidden. "Our schedule didn't have a cupcake on it." Even without an easy schedule, the team hammered away at opponents allowing fewer than one run in 10 games.
   The team entered the spring break tournament in Sarasota with one of the best starts in school history - a 12-2 record. "That was the best team baseball I've ever played," said junior Todd Wimberly. "We didn't make many mistakes, but when someone would screw up, the whole team would just play better."
   The Lions hit an oil slick in the tournament compiling a 0-4 record. The team then slipped even further as they dropped a game to Godby in which only 10 Lions dressed out. "We got sloppy," said junior Johnny Papagiannis. "Those games were a wake-up call and got us ready for the playoffs."
   Despite the late-season slide, Leon finished the regular season with a 16-9 record. The Lions regained their early season form as they roared into the district tournament with junior Nick Whidden's 4-0 shutout of Orange Park.
   On the heels of that shutout, Leon won the sub-district title with a 4-3 victory over Middleburg. The Lions advanced to regional play where the team faced Tate, ranked first in Florida and 15th in America. Leon fell 2-0 and finished the season 18-11.
   "We had a strong season," said senior Matt Mitchell. "We weren't just a good team, but good friends. It was hard to turn in our uniforms at the end."

Team Picture

1997 Varsity Baseball
(First Row) Chad Kittrell, Matt Mitchell, Matt Johnson, Colin Tease, Rodney Glover, Bill Mattice, Chris Wygle. (Second Row) Coach Greg Jones, Chris Whidden, Jonathan Davis, Johnny Papagiannis, Ian Chomat, Nick Whidden. (Last Row) Adam Scribner, Todd Wimberley, Chris Evans, Clay Hankinson, Joey Harrison, Stas Swerdzewski.
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1997 J.V. Pictures
1997 Frosh Pictures

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