In Sylvania, Georgia, the small town pace is a way of life. Far enough away from the big cities like Savannah to be out in the country but still close enough to have been nicknamed “Station City” in the 19th century. As the only high school in the area, Screven County High School, provides the sports action for this small hamlet. Baseball is especially popular in this hamlet, drawing fans to the field each week during the spring. Fans love to come cheer on the Gamecocks and watch the ball occasionally clear the left field fence near the scoreboard.
Sylvania’s past sports heroes have been few and far between. Best known as the birthplace of John R. McKinney, a World War II hero that was Georgia’s most decorated soldier from that war, Sylvania saw a young Bucky Dent grow up here. Dent, of course, became the New York Yankees hero in 1978 when he hit the home run shot that put the Yankees into the World Series over the Boston Red Sox and then hit so well in that championship that he was named the Series MVP. Dent’s life in Sylvania was bookended by his birth in nearby Savannah and his high school years in Hialeah High School in Florida. From high school Dent was drafted sixth in the Major League Baseball 1970 draft by the Chicago White Sox. A few seasons later, the Yankees traded for the promising shortstop.
Since then the Gamecocks have had one player drafted in to the big leagues. About ten years ago, fans could come cheer Macay McBride at Gamecocks Stadium, a southpaw pitcher born in Sylvania. McBride played here during his four years of high school before being drafted directly out of Screven County by the Atlanta Braves in 2001. After spending time in their minor league system, Macay made his Major League debut with the Braves in the 2005 season, pitching one game for a win. The next season he had his best effort as a pro. He pitched five games with a 4-1 win-loss ratio and kept his ERA down to a low 3.65. The next season he posted one win with a low 3.60 ERA. That season and through the next four years, McBride was severely limited due to injury and re-injury to his throwing arm. During those four years, Macay has only been healthy enough for two more games pitching so the faithful fans have been missing their hometown pitcher.
The 2008-2009 Gamecocks had a great baseball season, placing second in Georgia’s 3-AA regional standings. They managed a terrific 11-3 regional record in the region and were just outdone by Westside, Augusta’s 12-1 region record. The red and white colored Gamecocks were led again by coach Billy Pollock and featured 10 seniors on their 16-man roster. The fans were treated to quality baseball at the only baseball field in the town, watching game after game with the 1550 LED Baseball Scoreboards flashing their player’s names.