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Westside’s Barnes coaches final home game, Patriots blank Laney

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 10:16 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Legendary Westside baseball coach Gerald Barnes coached his final regular-season home game in front of a huge crowd Friday.

On the field named after him, Barnes took his place in the dugout for the final time. For nearly half a century, Barnes has coached the Patriots.

“They got an old annual of [ARC] from when I graduated,” Barnes said. “It said, ‘What do you want to do the rest of your life?’ and I said, ‘Coaching.’”

47 years, two state titles, and nearly 1,000 wins later, Barnes is ready to hang it up. After the Patriots shut out Laney, the hundreds in attendance stayed to celebrate and honor the long-time coach.

“He’s my brother-in-law, so it’s a family reunion for us,” said Kevin Mitchell, class of 1978. “It’s great to see all the ex-players, buddies of ours, ones that played with us, and all the guys that are here now.”

Players from the first team back in 1976 all the way to the most recent teams were in attendance.

“I’d be lying if I said I remembered all of them, but I got most of them,” Barnes said. “It’s funny because sometimes you might not recognize the, but when they talk you kind of remember that.”

Nearly 50 years of memories, all gathered on the field named after the man at the center of them all.

“This has got to be one of the top things that have happened to me here,” he said.

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