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Broncos, Hawks to meet at Coolray Field

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Brookwood and Mill Creek will be the first local high school baseball teams to benefit from having a Class AAA baseball stadium in their county.

The two teams will play each other in the inaugural Gwinnett Baseball Classic benefiting Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, which is scheduled for March 9 at the Gwinnett Braves' Coolray Field. Primarily the home of minor league baseball its first two years, the venue's use for local high school teams is expected to increase in the future.

A second high school event, the Gwinnett-DeKalb Challenge, will be at Coolray on March 19.

"It should be a nice setup and I know our kids will be excited about playing (at Coolray)," Brookwood head baseball coach Rick Howard said. "I've got 14 seniors this year and it will be a nice thing to do for them."

Mill Creek has 10 seniors who are also looking forward to the 3 p.m. game, the opening half of a doubleheader that concludes with a 7 p.m. game between SEC rivals Georgia and Alabama.

Both Howard and Mill Creek head coach Doug Jones said their players are excited to stick around and watch the SEC matchup.

"It's a great opportunity for kids at both schools to have a chance to play in a beautiful, new facility," Jones said. "A small percentage of kids in our programs will play college baseball and even fewer, maybe none, will ever get a chance to play in a facility like this.

"That's why Rick and I do things like this, to give kids a chance to play in a place like that at least once in their athletic career. I think they'll look back on it fondly when they're done playing."

For Brookwood, it's one of two appearances this season at Coolray.

The Broncos also are part of the Gwinnett-DeKalb showcase on March 19, when they face Redan at noon to open a doubleheader. Parkview plays the nightcap against Dunwoody.