The 2023 Brighton High School baseball season will definitely go down as the most successful (and probably most memorable) in the 27-year history of the program.
Brighton finished one win away from advancing to the Class 3A state title game, the best result in program history. Shortly after the Cardinals lost to eventual state champion Greeneville 3-2 on May 25 at Smyrna High School in the state semifinals, head coach Ryan Wood announced he was resigning after five seasons to take a job as an assistant principal at Crestview Elementary.
Emotions were running high for various reasons.
“Of course, to be so close and not get there hurt and I saw it in our guys’ faces,” Wood said. “We had eight seniors that have elevated the level and expectations of this program with two state tournaments appearances four wins at state, two district championships and the first region championship in school history.”
In the season finale against Greeneville, Brighton tied the score when a Luke Perkins single drove in Ben Lavelle. Greeneville plated a runner in the bottom of the sixth to go ahead 3-2. Brighton got singles from Cade Maxwell and Kaiden Ingram in the top of seventh, but the Cardinals could not push a run across and a historic season ended.
Brighton advanced to the semifinals with a 4-0 win over Greeneville. Pitcher Brady Ray was dominant on the mound. He struck out four, walked none and allowed just two hits over seven innings to pick up the win. Tanner Reed drove in two runs, Perkins doubled and Brodie Billings drove in a run.
In a 9-8 win over Greenbrier, Ingram had had three hits and Andrew Davis and Brodie Billings each had two.
Woods wrapped up the state tournament experience, the season and his time at Brighton thusly: “While this chapter has closed for me I’ll never forget the relationships with the players, coaches, administration and families that have supported Cards baseball and myself as head coach for the last five years.”
Under Woods, Brighton won its first region championship, three district titles and appeared in the state tournament twice.