2019 Georgia Highlands College Baseball Preview
The GHC Baseball team enters the 2019 season looking to capitalize on the momentum created by the first two season in Head Coach Dash O’Neill’s tenure. After a two year run that has seen countless team and individual program records fall, the first NJCAA Region XVII Championship in program history, and back to back top 20 appearances in the NJCAA polls, Chargers skipper Dash O’Neill’s expectations are higher than ever. “This team has shown an incredible amount of effort and developed a true bond that I think will carry them through a very tough schedule in 2019. This group believes in one another and brings a ton of energy and excitement to the park everyday.”
The Chargerpitching staff will undergo a major facelift in 2019, as only a handful of sophomore arms return this spring. Lefthander Zack Fordham and righties Brady Barker, Sam Warren, Skylar McPhee and Jacob Meyer are the only returners to the staff, and they hope to lead a bevy of talented newcomers into the new year. The 2019 staff will feature a wide array of looks and styles as the Chargers boast a strong mix of power arms, explosive stuff, and command specialists.
First Team All-GCAA catcher Parker Orr returns as the primary backstop for the Chargers in 2019, and the sophomore slugger looks to build on a terrific freshman campaign. Orr belted 10 home runs in 2018 while posting a .345 batting average and a .607 slugging percentage. Orr’s influence as a leader behind the plate should help a young pitching staff hit their stride. Alex Marquand joins Orr behind the dish in 2019, and the left-handed hitting freshman has the potential to have a very potent bat while providing an excellent complement to Orr’s production form the right side. Sophomore Blake Brady could also see time behind the plate, though the hard hitting right-hander spent much of his fall in the outfield.
The infield will be very deep for GHC this season as they return all four of their everyday starters from 2018 while adding several impact players to the mix. Skylar McPhee hammered out a .390 average while manning third base last season and should see action on both corners as well as an enhanced roll on the mound. Bryson Horne returns at first base, where he is following up a season in which he posted a .446 on base percentage and smashed 13 doubles. Willis Kemp led the 2018 squad with a .451 on base percentage and returns at second base looking to do even more damage in 2019. Austin Foster was the regular at short last year and an ultimate team player, and he will factor in all over the infield again in 2019. Rejoining the infield after an early injury sidelined him for the 2018 season, hard hitting Jason Wosczcynksi will factor in at second and third base and add some thunder to the lineup. Hunter Moody is another player returning from injury who could play a major role both in the field and on the mound. The redshirt freshman was one of the top performers this fall is capable of playing any position on the infield. Newcomers Keith Lyle and Trace Twardoski round out the infield for GHC. Lyle is a dynamic player who can be a force on the left side of the infield and at the plate, and Twardoski brings a potent bat and one of the more reliable bullpen arms to the table. Both players will be contributors in 2019.
While the infield features a ton of experience this season, the outfield will be full of new faces. Blake Brady makes the transition from catcher to corner outfield this season and will provide some serious thunder to the middle of the batting order. Freshmen Lavoisier Fisher, Gavin Lee, and Josh Bennett are a talented trio of young players who possess speed, power, and tenacity. Fisher figures to patrol center field for the Chargers while Lee and Bennett could see time in all three positions this spring. Joining the outfield corps are transfers Malik Spratling and Lee Kay, who add extraordinary depth and versatility to the unit.