By Steven Walters
The Georgia College baseball team opens the 2016 season with high expectations after two-straight years as PBC Tournament champs and three-straight NCAA-regional appearances, but Head Coach Tom Carty, now in his ninth season at the helm, wants his squad to be prepared to do more.
“You know you’ve got to show up every weekend, because everyone’s pretty good, so I don’t know how much last year effects this year as far as motivation,” Carty said. “I think were motivated to try and do what we do every year, and that’s win a Peach Belt regular season championship and move on from there.”
After losing key players such as Clay Ardeeser and Jake Sandlin, the Bobcats recruited a wave of junior college and four-year university players to bolster the team, adding the likes of Garrett Green, Grant Khan Wesley Wommack and ten others to the 41-man roster.
“We returned some key guys, some players positionally up the middle of the field, at the top of the order, so you like to feel like they can lead us on those sides of the ball,” Carty said. “We’ve returned some key bullpen guys that are seniors in Chris [Gammon] and Bryce Bush.”
Gammon, who led the team with a 1.84 ERA in 44 innings out of the bullpen last year, is looking to just pick up where he left off.
“[I’m] just trying to be able to repeat it this year, it’s going to be hard. Everyone in this conference is going to know who I am now,” Gammon said. “So it’s kind of more of a challenge than anything this year, [but I’m] just [going to] do exactly what [I] did last year.”
Returning up the middle is senior second baseman Dylan Cook, who was in the top ten in the PBC with 86 hits (3rd), 17 doubles (8th) and a .394 average (9th). Cook was also named to the ABCA Rawlings Gold Glove Team after committing only three errors in 2015.
The Bobcats were picked to finish third in the conference in the PBC Coaches Preseason Poll. Coach Carty’s squad opens the season with a tough test against the defending Division II National Champions, the University of Tampa, Homecoming weekend, Feb. 5. -7.