Tales of Kudzu Hill at the Athens Regional: Work Done in Silence

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Tales of Kudzu Hill at the Athens Regional: Work Done in Silence

For the first time in 16 years, a Super Regional returns to Athens. The regional sweep at Foley Field last weekend was won on the diamond, but the stadium’s atmosphere was second to none throughout the Bulldogs three victories on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about our fans,” said Head Georgia Baseball Coach Wes Johnson in Sunday’s postgame conference. “I’d rival what I saw tonight at Foley Field with any place in the SEC. It was loud, they were awesome and engaged.” 

Yes, the fans from inside the confines of the stadium were rambunctious for them Dawgs, but those on Kudzu Hill, just past the right field wall, were crazed madmen creating ripples of fluster for the opposition and waves of momentum for the Diamond Dawgs.





Thanks to the spring bloom of early April, the barren trees of February and March baseball were now blocking those Kudzu Krazies’ view.

Photos provided by Tanner Stines

However, have no fear… the UGA Athletic Association took matters into their own hands to create the best atmosphere possible for the fans behind the kudzu. Led by Associate Athletic Director Tanner Stines, the trees pictured above were limbed up and cut down at 7:30 a.m. By 10, a view of Foley Field gleamed through the gap that had been made by work done behind the scenes.

View from Kudzu Hill post tree removals at 10 a.m. Photo provided by Tanner Stines

Come Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., the Kudzu Krazies were in full effect, giving the Army right fielder an earful. By the top of the second inning, his mother, sister, girlfriend and ex-girlfriend’s names had become known to the fans in right field. He heard about it too, but the courtesy of the Krazies was evident as each insult was followed with a respectful “but thank you for your service!”





After the dramatic 8-7 win over Army on Friday, the Diamond Dawgs had a date with UNC Wilmington on Saturday night while the men who protect our country would face the nerds earlier Saturday afternoon. Despite their loss to Tech on Saturday, this Army baseball team did not end their weekend in Athens defeated; henceforth, we will revisit their heroics off the field in a second.

First, we must discuss prior actions to the UNC Wilmington game. An anonymous fan, working not for himself but for others, purchased bedsheets and spray paint to create a couple of signs for the Bulldogs. The queen-sized sheets were hung from the fence that separates Kudzu Hill and Foley Field for all players and spectators to see from inside the stadium and on TV. These signs gave flashes of the 2008 Athens Regional.

Sings on Kudzu Hill from 2008 Athens Regional.
Signs on Kudzu Hill last weekend at the 2024 Athens Regional.

With kegs on the hill and steamed oysters from District 7 County Commissioner John Culpepper, it’s needless to say, the Kudzu Krazies got rowdy. The men on the diamond felt that energy. In a non stop barrage of runs, Georgia took down the Seahawks 11-2.

Rewind to West Point’s finest… in the top of the second inning, a U.S.A chant broke out. We of Kudzu Hill channeled our focus from the game to a few Army baseball gear-wearing individuals to our left. The Army baseball team had come out to Kudzu Hill to cheer on the Dawgs and drink a few cold beers! They were all in, all Dawg! They drank for the Dawgs; they talked about the Dawgs; they even called the Dawgs from the tailgate of a truck! These were a few good men that I’m proud to have protecting the land of the free!

Army pitcher Sean Dennehy calling the Dawgs for all of Kudzu Hill.

Between home runs and beer showers, soldiers and oysters, diving catches and, of course, the fans, Saturday’s victory was one for the ages… That is until what happened on Sunday.

The Yellow Jackets of the North Avenue Trade School eliminated UNC Wilmington early Sunday despite a rain delay. Their win and the Dawgs 2-0 run thus far made for Clean, Old-Fashioned hate at primetime on Sunday night. The sun poked through the gap that Stines had cut earlier in the week, all rose for the National Anthem, and it was time to play ball in the Regional Final.

The Dawgs kicked it off with a few base hits and two runs as the visiting team in the top of the first, but Tech stormed back and held a lead from the bottom of the second inning to the top of the ninth. Tre Phelps, the freshman, would make it 5-4 in the eighth thanks to a solo bomb, but the Dawgs still needed one more to take it to extras. Mr. Clutch himself, shortstop Kolby Branch entered the box with the program record in grand slams and knocked a deep solo shot to center field to tie it up in the top of the ninth. A heroic save by pitcher Chandler Marsh at first base in the bottom of the ninth would give the Dawgs three outs and hold Tech to no runs with the bases loaded. 

Come top of the 10th, it was all Georgia. Momentum poured on the diamond and burned beneath their feet. The Dawgs put three runs on the board and won 8-6 to take down the enemy. Kudzu Hill was a zoo! A little slow start on the field called for a slow start on the hill thanks to the big night before (both on the diamond and downtown for the fans). Despite the hangovers, enough liquid courage flowed through the veins of the Krazies to get just rowdy enough and help bring a Super back to Athens!

It’s not over yet, Dawg Nation! I know Kudzu Hill will show out yet again because this is the Road to Omaha, and the Dawgs are riding dirty! See y’all on Saturday at noon!





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