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June 11, 2009

Braves sign Jaguars’ Hefflinger

Robby Hefflinger, a Georgia Perimeter College freshman with “light-tower power” signed a baseball contract with the Atlanta Braves Wednesday at Turner Field.

Robby Hefflinger excelled at the plate and on the mound for the Jaguars.

The Braves had selected Hefflinger as an outfielder Tuesday in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft. He was the 208th overall pick in the draft, considered a high selection that commands a healthy signing bonus.

An all-around talent, Hefflinger pitched, played right field and first base and caught a couple of games for the Jaguars. He hit .324 during the season with 11 home runs, 12 doubles and 3 triples.

“He has what they call ‘light-tower power,’” said Georgia Perimeter head coach Danny Blue. “He can hit the ball out of the ball park on any pitch and to any place in the park.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Braves scouting director Roy Clark as saying, “He’s our power bat we got in the early rounds.” On the mound Hefflinger pitched a seven-inning no-hitter and finished 7-0 with a 2.68 earned run average. He struck out 60 and walked 19 in 57 innings pitched.

“Robby was a leader for us with his actions and attitude toward the game of baseball,” Blue said. “Several times he said, ‘Give me the ball and I’ll get them out.’ He’s a gamer.”

Hefflinger was a major contributor in a turnaround season for the GPC baseball program, Blue’s third year at the helm. The Jaguars won the NJCAA Region 17 (GJCAA) regular-season championship, which was the college’s first baseball title this decade. However, they fell to Middle Georgia College in the region tournament championship game, finishing the season with a 42-16 record.

Hefflinger was selected to the NJCAA East-Central All-District team (Tennessee and Georgia), the All-Region 17 first team and the region All-Tournament team.

Measuring 6-feet-five-inches and weighing 235 pounds, Hefflinger bats right and throws right. He hails from Gainesville High, Gainesville, Ga., where he was All-State and All-Region in 2008 and a football captain.

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May 21, 2009

McCullers, Hefflinger named All District

Georgia Perimeter College freshmen Blake McCullers and Robby Hefflinger have added an honor to their growing list of baseball awards -each earned a spot on the East-Central All District team.

Additionally, McCullers and fellow freshman Dadynoel Lorenzo were named to the Region 17 Gold Glove team.

The East-Central District of the National Junior College Athletic Association is composed of two-year college teams from Georgia and Tennessee.

The three freshmen were instrumental in the Jaguars' turnaround 42-16 season in which GPC finished as region regular-season champions.

Hefflinger and McCullers were selected in April to the All Region (Georgia Junior College Athletic Association) first team. Hefflinger also was named to the region All Tournament team after the Jaguars finished runner-up to Middle Georgia College. Both give plenty of credit to head coach Danny Blue (region coach of the year) and his staff.

"They never let us get too confident," McCullers said. "They would tell us that anybody could beat us, so we went out every game ready to play."

"They are dedicated to help us," Hefflinger added. "They pushed us to where we could succeed."

A catcher, McCullers (Loganville High, Loganville) batted fifth in the region with a .397 average. He collected 41 RBIs, 40 runs, three home runs and 11 doubles, while posting a .949 fielding percentage.

On the mound, Hefflinger (Gainesville High, Gainesville) turned in a seven-inning no-hitter and finished at 7-0 with three saves and five complete games. A hard thrower, he struck out 60 to go along with a 2.68 earned run average.

In the field, Hefflinger had a .991 fielding percentage, while at the plate he batted.324. He belted 11 home runs and 12 doubles and had 43 RBIs and scored 40 runs.

At shortstop Lorenzo had a .915 fielding percentage. He hit .287 with 13 doubles, two triples, two homers, 42 runs and 32 RBIs.

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May 10, 2009

GPC finishes second in region

The magic that whisked the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team through a memorable season ran dry Sunday. Needing just one win to bring home a matching Region 17 tournament title to go with the regular season championship, the Jaguars fell 10-6 and 13-4 to Middle Georgia College in Douglas.

“Middle Georgia really put it together, rolled into that tournament and caught fire,” said GPC head coach Danny Blue. “But we beat them in the Saturday game, and it was close [4-2] through the seventh inning of the first one Sunday. And then they blew it open.”

Charlie Boring, No. 22, hit his third home run of the tournament.

GPC (42-16) had beaten the third-seeded Warriors 8-7 Saturday afternoon. But a post-season slump affecting the Jaguars’ deep pitching staff, which carried the team all year, caught up with them.

Going back to the tournament’s first round a week ago, GPC uncharacteristically allowed at least seven runs in five of its six games.

Sunday’s opener was close through the seventh inning, which ended with Middle Georgia (40-18) ahead 4-2. The Warriors bashed three home runs in the eighth, producing five runs, and scored again in the ninth on a round-tripper by T.J. Rich.

The Jaguars scored twice in the eighth. Trent Freeman, who homered early in the game, doubled to open the ninth and scored on Charley Boring’s third homer of the weekend.

That’s as close as the Jaguars got. Pitcher Will Mathis was pinned with the loss.

As the tourney was a double-elimination affair, the Jaguar loss-their first-meant that a second game was necessary to determine the championship. It was almost decided in the first inning. The Warriors amassed 11 runs in their first at-bat.

They did it on only six hits-two of them on a pair of Rich home runs. On one day, he matched his regular season total of three homers. Middle Georgia (41-17) poured it on with two runs in the second for a 13-0 lead.

Reliever Blake McCullers shut out the Warriors from the third inning through the seventh, and Alex Mahncke stopped them in the eighth.

The Jaguars had come from nine runs behind to win earlier in the season, but no dice this time. Center fielder Drew Dentler tripled in the fifth inning and scored on a wild pitch.

Three Jaguar runs in the ninth made the final score more respectable. Zac Bui and Denny Stovall hit RBI singles and Freeman drove in a run on a fielder’s choice.

Middle Georgia had to win three games Saturday night and Sunday. Before taking the field with GPC, the Warriors ousted second-seeded Young Harris 14-4 on Saturday night.

Dentler, who went 3-for-3 in the final game, joined fellow freshmen Boring and Robby Hefflinger on the All-Region tournament squad. Dentler hit a home run and two triples over the weekend.

Besides his steady hitting, Hefflinger pitched GPC to its first victory Friday and closed out the win over Middle Georgia Saturday with a save.

Left fielder Boring belted three-run home runs Friday and Saturday to go with his two-run blast Sunday.

Despite the unfortunate ending, Blue expressed a positive outlook on the 2009 season.

“We're happy as far as the season goes,” Blue said. “In college baseball, any time you win 42 ballgames and are only three games away from the Junior College World Series and have a bunch of guys on the All Region team, you’ve had a very successful year.”

He added, “Next year if everyone we’ve signed shows up and everyone we have coming back makes it back, we’ll have a pretty successful season again. But you can’t get much better than the season we had this year.”

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May 9, 2009

Jaguars advance to region title game

It's been a long time coming. The Georgia Perimeter College baseball Jaguars advanced to the championship game of the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association (Region 17) for the first time since 1999.

Drew Dentler hit a solo home run in the fourth inning.

A three-run home run by Charlie Boring, a solo blast by Drew Dentzler and four errors by Middle Georgia College helped GPC slip by the Warriors 8-7 Saturday afternoon for a spot in Sunday's title game at South Georgia College in Douglas.

For the past decade, Middle Georgia and Young Harris College have dominated The GJCAA (Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association). So, it's no accident that the Jaguars will face one of those powerhouses, Middle Georgia, Sunday at 2 p.m. for the 2009 title.

The Warriors (39-18) eliminated Young Harris from the tourney Saturday night, 14-4. Earlier in the day, Young Harris (44-12) had sent Truett-McConnell (21-38) home by a surprisingly slim 10-8 margin.

Middle Georgia committed three errors in GPC's first at-bat. That, along with a single by Robby Hefflinger and a sacrifice fly from Justin Pagano, spotted the Jaguars a two-run lead.

After the Warriors answered with a solo home run by Shawn Payne off starter Ryan Haynie, Georgia Perimeter mounted a major offensive in the third inning.

Trent Freeman singled and scored on a double by Hefflinger. Pagano followed with a single to put runners at the corners. Boring, a freshman left-fielder, then smacked a three-run homer -his second three-run blast of the weekend- to give the Jaguars a 6-2 lead.

Again, the Warriors answered in the bottom of the inning with three singles and a run.

Dentler opened the fourth inning with a home run, and another error by the Warriors in the fifth put the Jaguars up 8-2.

But never get comfortable playing Middle Georgia. Haynie (7-2) gave up three doubles in the sixth inning; reliever Jesse Richeson walked in a run; and suddenly the Warriors had narrowed the gap to 8-7.

However, the Jaguar bullpen took control the rest of the way. Richeson retired the side in the seventh inning, and Brent Hendrick put out a threat in the eighth.

Despite a hamstring injury, Hefflinger came on in the ninth to post his second save of the season.

GPC and Middle Georgia have split their four games on the season, so Sunday's championship round promises exciting baseball. If the Jaguars win the 2 p.m. game, they take home the championship trophy.

If the Warriors win, each team would have one loss in the double-elimination tourney, and a second game would follow to determine the championship.

Follow the Region 17 Championship Tournament at the Jaguar Baseball News site and Schedule/Results site. Tournament results also will be posted at www.gjcaa.org.

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May 8, 2009

Sluggers provide semifinal victory

You could call the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguar mascot “Pounce” if the name wasn't already in use locally.

Robby Hefflinger improved to 8-0 on the mound, hit a single and double and scored two runs.

The baseball Jaguars jumped to an early 7-0 lead Friday night behind power hitting by Charley Boring and Justin Pagano in the Region 17 Championship Tournament at South Georgia College in Douglas. The Jaguars went on to defeat Truett-McConnell 8-4 in their first game of the double-elimination playoffs.

GPC (41-14) advances in the winners' bracket for a Saturday 3 p.m. contest with Middle Georgia College, which surprised Young Harris College 17-4 in the tourney opener Friday afternoon.

A three-run triple by Pagano and sacrifice fly by Boring produced a 4-0 lead in the first inning Friday.

Starting pitcher Robby Hefflinger helped his own cause in the third inning with a double. After Pagano followed with a single, Boring crushed a three-run homer.

Hefflinger (8-0) pitched five shutout innings, but he allowed two earned runs in the sixth.

Reliever Rob Crosby took the mound in the seventh inning. Although catcher Blake McCullers caught a base runner trying to steal second, Truett-McConnell put together a two-out rally that produced an unearned run on a Jaguar error.

Reliever Tyler Akins ended the threat with a strikeout. He set down the Bears in order in the eighth inning.

The Jaguars added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on a triple by Drew Dentler and a sacrifice fly by Dadynoel Lorenzo.

Akins hit some trouble in the final inning as the Bears loaded the bases and scored on a hit batsman. But Akins got a fly ball to center to end the game. Truett-McConnell (21-37) drops into the losers' bracket, playing Young Harris (43-11) at noon Saturday.

Meanwhile, GPC has its hands full in Saturday's afternoon game. Middle Georgia (38-17) defeated the Jaguars twice in their three-game series two weeks ago; a grand slam by Boring salvaged the lone victory for the Jaguars.

Also, the Warriors were impressive with their rout Friday against Young Harris, ranked fourth in the nation in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll.

The loser of the GPC-Middle Georgia game will play the TMC-Young Harris winner Saturday at 7 p.m. The championship round begins at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Follow the Region 17 Championship Tournament at the Jaguar Baseball News site and Schedule/Results site. Tournament results also will be posted at www.gjcaa.org .

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May 7, 2009

Jaguars eye region championship

Danny Blue will keep saying it until he is, well, blue in the face.

“We have to play our best to win. Some teams can win if they're not on top of their game.”

Designated hitter Justin Pagano and others at the plate have been key to recent victories.

The Georgia Perimeter College head baseball coach knows the advantage of experience enjoyed by the perennial conference powerhouses, Young Harris College and Middle Georgia College, going into this weekend's Region 17 Championship Tournament.

The Jaguars played well enough to finish atop the Georgia Junior College Athletics Association (Region 17) standings -ahead of Young Harris and Middle Georgia. They will have to beat at least one of those teams in the double-elimination tournament this weekend at South Georgia College in Douglas.

First, GPC (40-14) will reap the rewards of its No. 1 seed by playing Truett-McConnell at 7 p.m. Friday. The Bears, seeded sixth, are 19-36, but shocked No. 3 Gordon with consecutive victories last weekend and arrives at the state's final four as the longshot.

The Jaguars defeated Truett-McConnell by a combined score of 29-5 in three wins early this season. Blue notes that the Bears have improved.

Young Harris (43-10) and Middle Georgia (35-17) open the tournament with a 3 p.m. game Friday. Three games will be staged Saturday, and the title will be determined Sunday.

Young Harris is ranked No. 4 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll, despite losing three games to GPC on its home field in April.

Infielder Bryson Smith leads the Mountain Lions with a .478 average, 5th in the nation, and he's belted 21 home runs, 4th nationally. Outfielder Derrick Lowery ranks 40th among NJCAA hitters at .440 and 10th in home runs with 17. Smith and Lowery rank No. 2 and 3 in RBIs with 88 and 86.

But the Jaguars have hot bats, too. They piled up 27 runs in a two-game sweep of South Georgia during the tournament's first round last weekend on the Newton Campus.

“We've been hitting the ball around pretty good the last few weeks,” Blue says.

At the same time, GPC pitchers allowed 19 runs, many by relief pitchers. “Every time we went to the bullpen, we got rocked pretty good,” he says.

The exception was Robby Hefflinger, who earned saves in both games. Blue has tapped the recent closer to start Friday. He says Will Mathis or Ryan Haynie will pitch Saturday, depending on the opponent.

“We're going to be all right,” he adds, “as long as we play to our ability.”

Follow the Region 17 Championship Tournament at the Jaguar Baseball News site and Schedule/Results site. Tournament results also will be posted at the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association site: www.gjcaa.org

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May 2, 2009

Hitters advance Jaguars to semifinals

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team drove its opponent batty this weekend.

Dadynoel Lorenzo hit a grand slam.

The Jaguars' potent bats produced 27 runs in two games, including a 13-8 win Saturday over South Georgia College that salted away their first-round, best-of-three series in the Region 17 tournament for state colleges.

GPC (40-14) triumphed 14-11 Friday, rendering a possible third game on Sunday unnecessary. The Jaguars, regular season region champions, advance to the region's final four beginning next Friday.

Unlike game one, when they overcame an early five-run deficit, the Jaguars led from the start on the Newton campus. They jumped out 6-2 after three innings.

Freshman shortstop Dadynoel Lorenzo golfed a fast ball in the fifth for a grand slam home run that gave the Jaguars the momentum to put the game away.

“We just hit it,” said head coach Danny Blue. “Denver Stovall got hot at the plate. We need to firm up the pitching and that's been our strong suit all year, but the hitters made the difference this weekend.”

The closest the Tigers (24-32) got was within three in the eighth.

Blake McCullers set the offensive tone with a two-run homer in the first. Two innings later, McCullers scored on Stovall's single and an error, followed by Jason Dodson's triple that sent home two more.

A solo run on the fourth by Trent Freeman on an error made it 7-3, but the Tigers countered with two in the fifth. Lorenzo's blast offset a mild late South Georgia rally.

Starter Will Mathis (7-2) allowed five runs in as many innings, but teammates generated enough offensive fireworks to get him a win.

Three relief pitchers kept the Tigers at bay, with Robby Hefflinger collecting his second save in two days with a perfect ninth inning.

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May 1, 2009

Stovall leads GPC in playoff opener

Georgia Perimeter College's comeback kids in the regular season continued the habit in the postseason.

First baseman Robby Hefflinger hit a triple to put GPC ahead.

The top-seeded Jaguars (39-14) spotted South Georgia College a five-run lead Friday before their bats heated up and won 14-11 in the opener of a best-of-three series in the opening round of the Region 17 tournament for state schools.

The series resumes at 2 p.m. Saturday on the Newton campus. If a third game is necessary, it will be played at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The visiting Tigers (24-31) jumped ahead 5-0 after two innings. GPC, which made rallying from big deficits a trademark this year, scored every inning between the third and the seventh, highlighted by a five-run fifth.

The biggest bat was wielded by Denver Stovall, who smacked two triples and a single, producing five RBIs.

The key blow was another triple, by Robby Hefflinger in the seventh with the bases full. Those three runs proved to be the difference.

Coach Danny Blue went deep into his bullpen, employing five pitchers. Alan Busenitz (2-4) secured the win, even though he allowed five runs in relief of Ryan Haynie.

Hefflinger also contributed significantly from the mound. He came on in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and one out, then induced a strikeout and a groundout. In the ninth, Hefflinger retired the Tigers 1-2-3, ending the game with a dramatic strikeout to earn a save.

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April 30, 2009

Blue Coach of Year; 7 Jaguars make All Region

Coach Danny Blue recently attributed his Georgia Perimeter College team's smashingly successful season in part to good fortune.

Coach Danny Blue

Well, as a former baseball executive famously said, “Luck is the residue of design.”

Blue's peers agreed, voting him the Region 17 (Georgia Junior College Athletic Association) coach of the year. The Jaguars (38-14), whom Blue projected as a break-even team before the season, won the region's regular-season title with a 20-4 record based on his “design.”

The title means that the Jaguars play host to a first-round tournament series with No. 8 seed South Georgia College starting Friday night.

Blue had plenty of GPC company on the honor roll with seven Jaguars named All-Region, five to the first unit.

Three of the award winners are position players, two making the first team. Four of the five pitchers named All Region were Jaguars—three to the first team.

Jaguars making the first team:

Sophomore second baseman Trent Freeman (Starr's Mill High, Fayetteville) hit .353 with 25 RBIs.

Freshman catcher Blake McCullers (Loganville High, Loganville) was fifth in the region with a .401 average, along with 36 RBIs.

Sophomore closer Brent Hendrick (Brookwood High, Snellville) was 7-1 with three saves -and topped the region in earned run average at 1.83.

Sophomore starter Will Mathis (Starr's Mill High, Fayetteville) went 6-2 with a 2.47 ERA that ranked third in the region.

Freshman starter Robby Hefflinger (Gainesville High, Gainesville) was 6-0 with five complete games, including a no-hitter. He had a 2.87 ERA that was eighth-best statewide -and he hit 11 home runs to boot.

Second team:

Sophomore designated hitter Justin Pagano (Flowery Branch High, Flowery Branch) was the 10th best region hitter at .377.

Sophomore starter Ryan Haynie (6-2, 2.64 ERA) was the third Jaguar All-Region selection hailing from Starr's Mill High in Fayetteville.

Blue placed extra emphasis on developing the pitching staff that kept the Jaguars in nearly every game until their hitters could generate enough runs for a win.

“From the beginning of the year, he demanded that we hustle all the time and give everything we have,” Freeman said. “I think that trait was one of the main reasons we were able to come from behind in so many close games to win.”

“He has turned this program around 180 degrees,” assistant coach Stewart Bailey said of Blue, who is in his third season at GPC. “He has a program in place,” including a strength coordinator and academic advisor, all new to the operation.

“He demands a lot out of our guys, and they have responded.”

Blue came to GPC out of Heritage High in Rockdale County, where he was head baseball coach for 26 years -and football coach for eight. In 2006, he received the state's highest honor in his field: induction into the Georgia High School Dugout Club Hall of Fame.

The Jaguars' May 1-3 first-round playoff series will be played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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April 27, 2009

Resilient Jaguars host playoff series as top seed

In the dead of winter, Georgia Perimeter College baseball coach Danny Blue pored over his roster and schedule, then came to this conclusion: "A realistic goal in trying to rebuild the program was to have at least a .500 season and make the playoffs."

Brent Hendrick leads an outstanding pitching staff with a 1.83 ERA and 7-1 record.

Now, in the sparkle of spring, the Jaguars have rocketed past their coach's modest objective. They finished the regular season 38-14 overall. And, at 20-4 in Region 17 (Georgia Junior College Athletic Association), they won the regular-season region title and the No. 1 region tournament seed that goes with it. It represents Georgia Perimeter's first baseball title in this millennium.

The Jaguars will play host, on the Newton Campus, to a best-of-three first-round series with South Georgia College May 1-3, as will the other three top seeds in the eight-team field.

Game times with South Georgia are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and, if necessary, Sunday at 1 p.m.

The four series winners will gather May 8-10 at South Georgia in Douglas for a double-elimination event to determine the region champion, a status GPC has not enjoyed since 1999.

Should the Jaguars survive, they would proceed to a district showdown against the representative from Tennessee. The last stop would be the National Junior College tournament May 23-31 in Grand Junction, Colo.

The virtue that could take GPC a long way, Blue said, is that his players "don't think about losing. We're never out of it. There's no quit in them. Some teams, they get down and just quit."

For example, in a recent three-game sweep of Young Harris College -then ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA poll- the Jaguars rallied from a 5-0 hole to win 11-6.

It was the third time they salvaged victory this year after trailing by that score. Another time, they overcame a 9-0 disadvantage against Chattanooga State to eke out a 10-9 victory.

"It's been one of those deals -knock on wood- where in each game different individuals come through for us," Blue said.

Several individuals have come through consistently at the plate. Freshman catcher Blake McCullers arrived from Loganville High with large expectations, having been named Class 4A co-player of the year with the acclaimed Tim Beckham, the first overall pick of the 2008 Major League Baseball draft by the Tampa Bay Rays.

"We thought we really had a player there," Blue said. "Turned out, we did."

Going into this week, Blake McCullers led the hitters with a .417 average.

McCullers is hitting .401 at the end of the regular season. At one point a month into the season was maintaining a .600 average.

Freshman first baseman Robby Hefflinger has maximized his 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame to bash 11 home runs, putting him among the nation's most prolific sluggers. The number is especially impressive given that the Jaguars play in a spacious, pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Blue is not surprised at the amount, unlike Hefflinger's coach at Gainesville High. "He said to me Robby didn't hit this many throughout his high school career," Blue noted.

Hefflinger was never better than in the Young Harris series that all but nailed down first place for the Jaguars. He blasted four homers in the three games, and two other drives clipped the top of the fence before bouncing back onto the field.

Hefflinger was promising enough to accept a scholarship offer out of high school to the University of Georgia. The Bulldogs later withdrew it, according to Blue, because they would have exceeded the scholarship limit, though Hefflinger could wind up in Athens eventually.

The Jaguars also boast other top hitters in the region. Sophomore third baseman Justin Pagano (Flowery Branch High) is at .377, followed by sophomore second baseman Trent Freeman (Starr's Mill High, Fayetteville) at .353.

Others hitting over .300 are Drew Dentler, Zac Bui, Dadynoel Lorenzo and Hunter Pope. Additionally, Charley Boring (Samford, High, Marietta), Matt Tunnell (Mill Creek High, Lawrenceville) and Zac Bui (South Gwinnett High, Snellville) are over .300, but with fewer at-bats.

As effectively as the Jaguars have swung the bats, the cornerstone has been pitching and defense. The staff's collective earned-run-average of 3.63 is much lower than the next Region 17 squad. Foes are hitting only .240 against them.

Four GPC hurlers have been ranking among the region's top six for lowest ERAs, including the first three.

Sophomore Brent Hendrick (Brookwood High, Snellville) has a 1.83 earned run average and was unbeaten at 7-0 with three saves until his first loss last week. Sophomore Will Mathis (Starr's Mill, Fayetteville) has a 2.47 ERA with an 6-2 record and leads the team in strikeouts with 64.

Hefflinger, perfect at 6-0, has a 2.70 ERA with 53 strikeouts. Mathis' and Freeman's former high school teammate, Ryan Haynie (Starr's Mill, Fayetteville), stands at 2.64 and 6-2.

"We don't have that dominating type of guy who strikes out a lot of people," said Blue. "None of them are what you'd call power guys, other than Hefflinger. So we've got to play defense."

Blue's bullpen-by-committee, paced by Hendricks, has been strong most of the season. The coach calls on sophomore Jesse Richeson (Duluth High, Duluth) and freshmen Rob Crosby (A Beka Academy, Loganville), Tyler Akins (Mill Creek High, Auburn) and Jake Dyer (Salem High, Conyers), among others.

With fewer innings pitched, Richeson (2-0) and Akins (1-1) lead the team in ERA with 0.63 and 1.31, respectively. Crosby is 4-0 with a 2.91 ERA. "A lot of depth out there," Blue said. "Some teams, you get into their bullpen and you've got them [beat]."

Blue views Young Harris as the most imposing threat to GPC, despite the Jaguars' dominance in their series. The Mountain Lions were the nation's No. 2 hitting team entering that weekend.

The veteran coach knows that talent is not the only factor in winning championships. Momentum late in the season and a never-say-die attitude can trump ability.

"If we continue to play as we did at Young Harris," Blue said, "the sky's the limit."

The Jaguars' May 1-3 first-round playoff series will be played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington. Games times: Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m.; Sunday (if necessary), 1 p.m.

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April 25, 2009

Boring's slam saves series

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team, victimized by five-run rallies in the first two games of the weekend, responded with one of its own to avoid a sweep by Middle Georgia College in Cochran.

Charley Boring hit a grand slam and a solo homer and went 8-for-10 in the series.

The Jaguars, who had already clinched the regular season title in Region 17 (the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association) and top seed in its tournament, rode Charley Boring's grand slam home run and unbeaten pitcher Robby Hefflinger's fifth complete game of the year to a 9-3 win in Saturday's nightcap.

GPC backed Hefflinger (6-0) with error-free defense after committing seven miscues in the losses. Hefflinger struck out eight and walked none in the seven-inning gem.

Boring's slam capped a five-run sixth that untangled a 3-3 tie. Justin Pagano's bases-loaded single made it 4-3, and then Boring put the game away. Boring batted two-for-three in the game, while Justin Pagano had three hits and Blake McCullers added two.

Boring also homered in Friday's game, a second-inning solo shot that got the Jaguars moving. He went four-for-four with two RBIs and two runs. Helped by a sixth-inning RBI triple by Drew Dentler, GPC took an eventual 5-1 lead in the eighth. But the bullpen could not hold it for starter Ryan Haynie, who pitched into the sixth inning. Tyler Akins (1-1) took the loss.

The Warriors waited until the eighth inning again in Saturday's opener with an offensive explosion that put them ahead 9-3. Starter Will Mathis (6-2) was gone by that point, and the bullpen allowed the game to get out of hand.

Drew Dentler's two-RBI single in the ninth made the final score more respectable. Boring had two hits, as did Pagano and Hunter Pope. The Jaguars closed out its regular-season schedule with an outstanding 38-14 record, 20-4 in the region.

As the region's top seed, GPC will play host to a first-round best-of-three playoff series this weekend with South Georgia College on the Newton Campus. Games are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and, if necessary, Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner advances to the region final four May 8-10 at South Georgia College.

The Jaguars' May 1-3 first-round playoff series will be played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., 30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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April 22, 2009

Jagaurs win regular-season title

Georgia Perimeter College's six-run seventh inning broke open a tense game Wednesday, and the Jaguars celebrated the Region 17 regular season title after an 8-3 win over Darton College on the Newton campus.

Dadynoel Lorenzo drove in two runs with two hits in the big rally.

The victory elevated GPC (37-12) to a 19-2 region record, with first place preserved no matter the outcome of a three-game weekend series against Middle Georgia in Cochran that closes the pre-tournament schedule.

The Jaguars will be seeded first in the region tourney next weekend. In the National Junior College Athletics Association poll released Wednesday, GPC just missed out on the top 20, receiving the most votes among schools that could not crack the rankings.

Dadynoel Lorenzo had a pair of run-scoring singles that book-ended the seventh-inning explosion. The first sent home Drew Dentler, who had tripled. The second drove in Charley Boring.

In between, Trent Freeman and Boring had RBI singles, while Hunter Pope doubled in two runs.

Starter Alan Busenitz pitched 6 2/3rds effective innings, leaving with the game tied 2-2.

Jesse Richeson faced only one batter, but earned the win as his teammates staked him to an 8-2 lead.

Tyler Akins took over pitching duties in the final two innings. The Jaguars supported their hurlers with error-free defense.

Georgia Perimeter will host the eighth-place team—yet to be determined—in the first-round of the region playoffs May 1-3. Eight teams qualify for the tournament, and the top four teams each host a three-game series next weekend.

The four winners of those series will play a double-elimination tournament May 8-10 at South Georgia College in Douglas to determine the region champion.

The Jaguars' May 1-3 first-round playoff series will be played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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April 21, 2009

GPC's partial squad drops two

With many regulars sitting it out, the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team, venturing out of the region and out-of-state Tuesday, dropped a doubleheader to Central Alabama Community College.

The Jaguars (36-12) left a dozen players home from the trip to Alexander City so they could rest for Wednesday's critical makeup date with Darton College. GPC needs one win to clinch the Region 17 regular season title.

The Jaguars still gave the Trojans a run, losing 4-3 and 7-4. Top-notch reliever Brent Hendrick, 7-0 with three saves entering the game, failed to hold a lead for the first time all season in the opener. He allowed three singles in the seventh as Central Alabama scored the tying and winning runs.

The Jaguars had taken a 3-2 edge in the top half when Hunter Pope doubled in Dadynoel Lorenzo.

Brent Hardy suffered the nightcap loss in his second start of the year. He allowed four runs in the first inning as GPC fell behind 7-1 before rallying to halve the deficit. Lorezno's two-run single was the big hit in the Jaguars' three-run fourth.

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April 19, 2009

Jaguars' statement: "We're Back!"

Baseball Alumni Day at Georgia Perimeter College, scheduled for Oct. 25, has 'We're Back!' as its theme.

In their weekend showdown between the state's top two-year-college baseball teams, GPC and Young Harris College, the Jaguars made an emphatic statement - "We're back."

Robby Hefflinger hit four home runs and won a game on the mound.

GPC swept its three-game series with the No. 3-ranked team in the National Junior College Athletics Association, scoring double figures in each game and mowing down the Mountain Lions 12-5, 11-5 and 11-6.

"It was unexpected," says GPC head coach Danny Blue. "We played really well and beat a quality team. Young Harris is one of the best in the nation. That says a lot about our players."

In past decades, Georgia Perimeter baseball teams (and former DeKalb College teams) established a reputation for the college as a regional and national contender. But in the new millennium, the Jaguars slumped, and Young Harris and Middle Georgia became the uncontested powers in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association (Region 17 of the NJCAA).

GPC hired Blue to turn things around, and in this weekend of his third season the Jaguars left no doubt that a new era has begun at the college.

The Jaguars began the series Friday trailing Young Harris by a half-game in the region standings. They emerge with a 2 1/2-game lead at 18-2 (36-10 overall). The Mountain Lions declined to 16-5 and 37-9.

The offensive outburst was led by Robby Hefflinger, who homered in every game - twice in the second. Hefflinger ended the week with 11 blasts placing him at 37th on the NJCAA list of home run leaders.

GPC trailed in Friday's opener 3-1 when Justin Pagano rapped a solo home run in the sixth. The Jaguars took their first lead in the seventh, primarily on Hefflinger's two-run shot, then put Young Harris away with a six-spot in the eighth. Blake McCullers drove in three runs.

Ryan Haynie (6-2) got the win, with relief help from Brent Hendrick. It was the beginning of an outstanding series for the GPC pitching staff against a strong hitting team.

In Saturday's first game, the Jaguars started the third inning in a 3-3 tie, then accumulated six runs in the next three innings. Hefflinger homered with a man on base in the first to ignite the offense. In his last at-bat, he repeated the act, winding up 4-for-5 in the game. Nearly everyone else in the bating order contributed in the 17-hit parade.

Winning pitcher Will Mathis (8-1) managed to keep Young Harris from getting close, leaving after 4 1/3 innings with a 9-4 lead. Tyler Akins was outstanding out of the bullpen.

In the third game, it was come-from-behind time again. The Mountain Lions amassed a 5-0 lead after two innings, only to see it vanish on GPC's seven-run third. Brac Barton's grand slam was the big blow.

Hefflinger, who is an unbeaten pitcher in his spare time, improved to 5-0 with a stint of 4 2/3 innings. He helped his own cause with a solo homer in the fourth inning, and Jesse Richeson helped him out with shutdown relief work, picking up his first save with 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Facing the top of the Young Harris order, he allowed only one base runner on a walk.

Dadynoel Lorenzo stroked two triples, the second in a three-run ninth last inning that put a cherry on top of GPC's rip-roaring weekend.

GPC has won 17 consecutive region games, dating back to a March 14 loss at South Georgia College. The stretch includes five three-game series sweeps.

The Jaguars have only a few days to celebrate before heading out of town again Tuesday for a nonregion twinbill. Awaiting GPC, which is likely move into this week's NJCAA poll, is Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City.

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April 14, 2009

Jaguars share wins in Cleveland

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team bounced back from a disappointing loss in the opener of a doubleheader Tuesday and gained a welcome split entering the biggest weekend of the season.

A two-out, last-inning home run by Cleveland (Tenn.) State Community College was the crushing blow in a 5-2 defeat. But the Jaguars rebounded with a 4-3 win, leaving them 33-10 on the season.

Rob Crosby (4-0) came on in relief during the fourth inning of a 3-3 game in the nightcap and earned the win, thanks in large part to GPC's tie-breaking run in the sixth inning, courtesy of Drew Dentler's double. Home runs by Charley Boring and Hunter Pope in the fourth accounted for the other Jaguar runs.

In the opener, GPC took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Josh Chambers had doubled in Michael Madison during the second and Trent Freeman had plated Dentler with a single in the fifth.

Alex Mahncke, replacing Alan Busenitz on the mound, retired two batters with the score 2-2 but could not quell the rally. Cody Hooper snapped the tie with the clinching three-run homer.

The Jaguars, 15-2 in Region 17, return to region play this weekend with first place at stake. They visit Young Harris College (36-6, 16-2 GJCAA), ranked No. 3 in the National Junior College Athletic Association and a half game ahead of GPC in the region standings. The opening game of the showdown is at 7 p.m. Friday, and the teams meet again for a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday.

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April 11, 2009

Haynie, Freeman lift GPC

For Georgia Perimeter College, it was the sweetest of sweeps.

Ryan Haynie

The Jaguars rode clutch pitching and timely hitting to three taut weekend wins over Gordon College on the Newton Campus. Though they only outscored the Highlanders by a combined four runs, GPC dramatically improved their record to 32-9, and 15-2 in Region 17 (Georgia Junior College Athletic Association).

Ryan Haynie got the series off to a shining start by blanking Gordon - the region's third-place team - 2-0 on Saturday. Haynie (5-2), who boasts the fifth-lowest earned-run-average in the region at 2.64, halted the Highlanders on two hits and a walk.

Haynie carried a perfect game into the fifth inning. The win marked Haynie's third complete game of the season, two of which were nine-inning region contests.

Trent Freeman - also Haynie's teammate at Starr's Mill High School in Fayette County - was in the midst of each offensive uprising during Saturday's games. Freeman singled in the first inning and raced home on Robby Hefflinger's single, giving Haynie the only run he needed. Later, Freeman's hit drove in Hunter Pope, who had singled, for the 2-0 victory.

Trent Freeman

In the nightcap, GPC recovered from a 4-0 hole to win 5-4. Freeman was hit by a pitch in the three-run fifth, capped by Blake McCullers' two-RBI single.

The next inning, Freeman drove in the game-winning run as pitcher Brent Hendrick improved to 7-0 in relief of Hefflinger. Hendricks granted two hits over the final 2 1/3 innings.

Starter Will Mathis needed relief help from Hendricks in Sunday's 4-2 decision, but earned the win with the help of 10 strikeouts. Hendricks repeated his performance the day before, entering in the seventh and shutting down Gordon (26-19, 10-9).

The key runs came in the fifth, when McCullers walked, Hefflinger doubled, Zac Bui popped a sacrifice fly and Pope sent home Hefflinger. That offset two late runs by Gordon.

Georgia Perimeter hits the road for the remaining games of the season, first heading north on Tuesday to visit Cleveland (Tenn.) State Community College.

Then the Jaguars are off to a region showdown with perennial power Young Harris (36-6, 16-2) in Young Harris, Ga. The Mountain Lions, ranked No. 3 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll, are in first place in the region standings with a half-game lead over GPC.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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April 8, 2009

Jaguars avenge defeat in nightcap

Georgia Perimeter College saw its nine-game baseball win streak end Wednesday. It only took the Jaguars a few hours to launch another streak.

GPC fell to USC Salkehatchie 4-2 on its home turf, then won the back half of the doubleheader 4-3 in extra innings. In the opener, Dadynoel Lorenzo and Trent Freeman stroked three hits each, but the Jaguars' only runs came on Matt Tunnell's hit in the third inning. Alan Busenitz took the pitching loss.

GPC trailed the visitors from South Carolina for much of the nightcap. Mike Madison's run after a double tied it 3-3 and extended the game to nine innings.

The Jaguars salvaged a split when Vince Wood doubled and later raced home from third on Blake McCullers' single. Brent Hendrick, who came on in relief, picked up the win.

Georgia Perimeter's pitchers held their own against a powerful hitting team. USC Salkehatchie had belted nine homeruns in a doubleheader on Sunday. Jesse Richeson, the Jaguars' starter in the second game, allowed only three hits in four innings, giving up two runs, one unearned. He struck out three and walked one.

At 29-9, GPC returns to Region 17 play with a three-game set this weekend against Gordon College on the Newton campus. They'll play a single game at 6 p.m. Friday and a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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April 2, 2009

Jaguars rained out in Rome

What opponents have not been able to do -- cool off the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team -- was accomplished Thursday by rain. The Jaguars' journey to Rome, Ga., for a doubleheader against Shorter College proved futile. The washed-out games likely will not be rescheduled, according to coach Danny Blue.

Ideal baseball weather is expected this weekend as the Jaguars (25-8) risk their six-game win streak with a Saturday doubleheader and Sunday single game against Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. First pitch each day is 1 p.m. on the Newton campus.

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April 1, 2009

Relievers come through for GPC

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team spelled relief R-o-b and A-l-a-n on Wednesday.

Pitchers Rob Crosby and Alan Busenitz bailed out GPC starters with stellar relief stints as the Jaguars socked it to Piedmont College's junior varsity 10-3 and 3-1 on the Newton campus.

In the opener, Crosby (3-0) replaced Josh Tapley in the second inning of a 3-0 game and struck out seven without allowing a run. Two more relievers closed things out in the seventh inning.

Zac Bui swatted three hits and Matt Bishop drove in four of GPC's 10 runs.

Busenitz (1-2) entered for Brent Hardy in the fourth inning of the nightcap, his team trailing 1-0. Busenitz allowed nary a hit, finishing off Piedmont in the seventh.

The Lions maintained their slim lead until the sixth, when Jake Dyer opened with a double to start the winning, three-run rally. Piedmont made it easy on GPC with an error, a passed ball and a wild pitch. The Jaguars managed only three hits in the game.

Weather permitting, GPC (25-9) was scheduled to play Shorter College in Rome on Thursday.

Saturday GPC hosts Region 17 opponent Abraham Baldwin College in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m., followed by a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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March 30, 2009

Hit parade brings sweep

Georgia Perimeter College's extended stay in Cuthbert, Ga., proved worthwhile Monday as the Jaguars completed a three-game baseball sweep of Andrew College with a 9-2 victory.

Michael Madison belted two doubles and a single. GPC piled up 18 hits in a game pushed back one day by rains. The verdict gave the Jaguars a three-game sweep and left them 23-8 overall. They're riding high in second place in Region 17 (Georgia Junior College Athletic Association) with a 9-2 record.

Freshman outfielder Michael Madison led the hit brigade with three hits, two of them doubles. Trent Freeman also rapped three hits, including a double.

Two-hit performances came from Dadynoel Lorenzo, Blake McCullers, Robby Hefflinger, Justin Pagano, Denver Stovall and Matt Bishop. Lorenzo stroked a home run.

Starting pitcher Will Mathis (4-1), comforted by seven runs in the first five innings, earned the win. He struck out nine and permitted just three hits and two walks. Three relievers kept Andrew at bay.

The busy Jaguars got a reprieve when a Tuesday doubleheader at Gadsden (Ala.) State was postponed. They will go again Wednesday at 5 p.m. at home against Piedmont College.

Saturday GPC hosts conference opponents Abraham Baldwin College in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m., followed by a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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March 29, 2009

Hefflinger excels in dual wins

Robby Hefflinger delivered with his bat in one game and his arm in the other as Georgia Perimeter College took a baseball doubleheader Sunday over conference foe Andrew College in Cuthbert.

Freshman infielder Hunter Pope hit two-for-five for the day with a double and 3 RBIs. Hefflinger, playing first base, went 3-for-5 with a double in an 11-9 win. Then he tossed a seventh-inning three-hitter in his third complete game of the season as the Jaguars (22-8, 8-2) escaped 2-0 in the nightcap.

The final game of the series, pushed back a day by rain, is Monday afternoon.

With the two victories, Georgia Perimeter remains in second place in Region 17 (Georgia Junior College Athletic Association). The Jaguars trail Young Harris College, which is ranked No. 4 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll, and they hold a slim lead over third-place Middle Georgia College, ranked No. 15 nationally.

GPC was poised for an easy first-game win, leading 9-3 when Andrew erupted for six runs in the eighth.

Starter Ryan Haynie exited with the six-run edge, but the bullpen could not hold the lead. Brent Hendrick (4-0) got the win. Alan Busenitz got the last out with the bases loaded for a save.

The Jaguars broke the tie in the ninth on a bases-full fielder's choice by Dadynoel Lorenzo and got an insurance run on an RBI single by Zac Bui.

Hunter Pope, who laid down a key sacrifice bunt in the winning rally, had two hits in three trips, including a double. Denver Stovall, who scored the winning run, was two-for-four, while Bui went two-for-five.

Hefflinger struck out eight and walked just three batters in the nightcap, improving his record to 3-0.

Blake McCullers went two-for-four at the plate with a double and an RBI. Pope posted the other RBI.

Georgia Perimeter returns to its home field on Wednesday for a doubleheader with Piedmont College, beginning at 5 p.m.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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March 24, 2009

One-hitter earns split

A tag-team effort by the Georgia Perimeter College pitching staff enabled the Jaguars to pin down a split Tuesday in their baseball doubleheader against Gadsden (Ala.) State.

Jesse Richeson fanned four in three innings to win his first start of the season. Three hurlers collaborated on a one-hitter for a 10-1 cakewalk in the nightcap on GPC's Newton Campus. Georgia Perimeter dropped the opener 5-3.

Jesse Richeson, Josh Tapley and Tyler Akins split up pitching duties, with Richeson earning the win.

Richeson (1-0), in his first start of the year, pitched three innings, allowing one hit while striking out four and walking three.

Gadsden's sole run came in the fifth on a walk, a wild pitch and two fielder's choices.

Blake McCullers provided the Jaguars with all of the offense they needed on a three-run homer in the first inning, driving in Zac Bui and Russ Cooper. Georgia Perimeter sent the whole lineup to the plate in the inning.

GPC's loss was much closer as starter Alan Busenitz (0-2) allowed four runs in three innings to absorb the defeat. Rob Crosby's nifty relief work kept the Jaguars in the game, but they were unable to generate enough offense.

After the Cardinals took the lead in the first on a two-run home run by Tyler Covington, GPC came right back to tie in its half of the inning. Drew Dentler and Trent Freeman started things off with a double and loop single, and both scored on a passed ball and fielder's choice.

The teams each scored in the second inning, but Gadsen relievers Jeffery Pool and Jesse Mulkey then silenced the Jaguar offense.

GPC (20-8, 6-2) returns to Georgia Junior College Athletic Association (Region 17) play with a doubleheader Saturday and a Sunday game at Andrew College in Cuthbert.

The next home game is a doubleheader on Wednesday, April 1, against Piedmont College, beginning at 5 p.m.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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March 21, 2009

Hefflinger hurls no-hitter

Robby Hefflinger's seven-inning no-hitter capped a dominant weekend for the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team, which swept three games from conference foe Truett-McConnell College on the Newton Campus.

Hefflinger (2-0) allowed one-earned run as the Jaguars defeated the Bears 9-1 in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday.

GPC scratched out just four hits against left-hander Andrew Wallace—one by Hefflinger. But the Jaguars took advantage of seven Truett errors and a double by Denver Stovall.

The victory marks Hefflinger's second complete game this season. Truett's lone run came in the second inning on a walk, hit batsman, sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly.

"Robby had only about three balls hit hard, but he had a good defense behind him," said head coach Danny Blue. "He topped out at 91 [m.p.h.] a couple times."

The coach added, "He's pitched 14 innings and given up only one hit." Hefflinger had pitched a one-hitter six days earlier at South Georgia College.

The Region 17 (Georgia Junior College Athletic Association) series began Friday with a 9-2 win as Ryan Haynie (4-2) notched a nine-inning complete game. He whiffed five Bears and allowed only five hits and two walks.

Hefflinger contributed at the plate with a triple that highlighted a four-run explosion in the third.

The opener of Saturday's doubleheader was a hit fest as GPC banged out 20 hits during an 11-2 triumph. Will Mathis (3-1) gained the win with 6 1/3 strong innings that included four strikeouts.

Drew Dentler led the bat brigade with four singles. Matt Bishop and Denver Stovall collected three hits apiece.

The Jaguars (19-7, 6-2) take a six-game winning streak into Tuesday's home game, when they welcome Gadsden (Ala.) State at 2 p.m.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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March 17, 2009

Jaguars repeat rally routine

Call them the never-say-die Jaguars.

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team is making the late-inning comeback routine. Once again, GPC rallied from a big deficit, this time downing Southern Union State Community College 7-6 Tuesday in Wadley, Ala.

The Jaguars (16-7) drifted behind 4-0 after three innings, and then bunched five runs in their next two at-bats. Vince Wood's bases-loaded single plated two runs in the fourth, and an error brought home a third. In the fifth, Brac Barton's single delivered two more runs and a 5-4 GPC advantage.

Southern Union countered with a pair in the seventh to go ahead 6-5. But in the ninth, Blake McCullers' double ignited the Jaguars, and a Robby Hefflinger singled tied it. He scored on a fielder's choice to restore the GPC lead.

Tyler Akins, in relief, pocketed his first win of the season, facing just four batters in the bottom of the ninth.

The Jaguars are back home this weekend for a three-game series against Truett-McConnell College. A single game is set for 5 p.m. Friday on the Newton campus, followed by a 2 p.m. doubleheader Saturday.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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March 15, 2009

GPC grabs two of three from Tigers

A spirited rally on Sunday enabled the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team to snatch a three-game region series from South Georgia College in Douglas.

The Jaguars (15-7, 3-2 Region 17) took the decisive game 5-3 in 10 innings with a pair of runs after they had tied it with two in the ninth.

Trent Freeman's extra-inning home run following Jason Dodson's single capped the rally. Relief pitcher Brent Hendrick quelled a bases-loaded, one-out threat in the seventh inning, when the Tigers (12-13) could have broken the game open, and finished the game three frames later with a strikeout to earn the win.

Freeman also homered in Saturday's opener in his first at-bat, yet the Jaguars fell 9-6. Denver Stovall's two-run triple in the ninth got GPC close, but there was no victory cigar. Starter Ryan Haynie absorbed the loss.

The second game was all Jaguars as pitcher Robby Hefflinger went the distance, allowing just one hit and striking out five in a 10-1 triumph. Dadynoel Lorenzo slapped three hits and Matt Bishop homered.

The Jaguars cross the Alabama state line Tuesday for a game against Southern Union State Community College in Wadley.

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March 10, 2009

GPC fails to halt win streak

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team entered a Tigers' den Saturday, and then came out scratched and clawed.

Chattanooga State Technical Community College (15-7) extended its win streak to nine by silencing the Jaguars 9-1 and 13-3.

GPC spotted the home team a 5-0 lead after one inning of the opener. Twelve walks and three errors that led to five unearned runs made the Tigers' task easier.

Trent Freeman banged out two hits for the Jaguars. The pitching staff got a lift when Jesse Richeson hurled two scoreless innings of relief in his first outing of the season.

Robby Hefflinger lofted a two-run homer, his seventh of the year, in the initial frame of the nightcap, but the Jaguars managed just one more run the rest of the way. Matt Tunnell contributed two hits.

The Jaguars (13-6) attempt to interrupt a losing skein that has reached three games entering a weekend series against South Georgia in Douglas. The teams will tangle in a Saturday doubleheader, followed by a single game Sunday.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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March 7, 2009

McCullers brings his bat to college

Few baseball players enjoy the hot bat Blake McCullers has had to start his college career. The freshman catcher for Georgia Perimeter College was hitting .564 after four weeks of action.

Blake McCullers, displaying his Player of the Year award, is ranked 11th in the nation in hitting. McCullers led Loganville High School to the 4A state championship last year, and received the 2008 4A Player of the Year award in a recent ceremony. He's kept up the pace for the Jaguars.

Head coach Danny Blue has a goal to rebuild the Georgia Perimeter baseball program to national prominence the college enjoyed in past decades. McCullers has been instrumental in this season's turnaround.

He's hitting .521, and the Jaguars stand at 13-4 going into next Tuesday's game at Chattanooga State Technical Community College. McCullers' average ranks him at No. 11 in the nation among National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1 players. In 48 at bats, he has 25 hits, 16 RBIs, 5 doubles, two triples and one home run.

"Blake McCullers is the true essence of a baseball player," Blue says. "He is definitely a bonified NCAA Division 1 level hitter."

Hitting instructor Stewart Bailey points out that McCullers "understands how pitchers are trying to get him out. The most important aspect that has lead to him batting over .520 is that he uses the entire field.

Early in the season, McCullers just missed hitting for the cycle in two consecutive games. He had a single, double and triple on Feb. 5 and a single, triple and home run on Feb. 7.

Blue says McCullers is solid defensively, too.

"Blake has done a tremendous job behind the plate with throwing out over 60 percent of base runners attempting to steal," Blue says. "He's worked really hard on receiving, blocking, and calling the game.

"Blake has lead by example on the field with his play, and has been an outstanding addition to the GPC Jaguar Baseball program."

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March 4, 2009

Jaguars split region opener

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team led for only a split second through 17 innings of a doubleheader Wednesday on the Newton Campus.

Russ Cooper drove in the winning run in the first game. But the Jaguars managed a split with Darton College in opening their Georgia Junior College Athletic Association (Region 17) schedule. They outlasted the Cavaliers 6-5 in 10 innings, only to stumble 3-1 in the nightcap.

Trent Freeman, who had four of GPC's 10 hits in the opener, scored the winning run on a single by Russ Cooper. Brent Hendrick provided 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief pitching to secure the win.

In six trips to the plate, Freeman had two doubles and three RBIs as the Jaguars rallied from a 4-0 deficit, caused partly by fielding errors. Effective base running that included eight steals in nine attempts ignited the GPC comeback.

Jason Dodson swiped three bases and Justin Pagano went 2-for-4 in GPC's first extra-inning game of the season.

The Jaguars could not solve pitcher Taylor Whitenton in the second game. He allowed only an unearned run, scored by Blake McCullers, who had doubled. Whitenton whiffed 16 batters.

McCullers, a freshman catcher, added a single to go 2-for-4 and keep his season batting average at a sizzling 521.

Losing pitcher Ryan Haynie was sharp, giving up five hits and striking out four in five innings. He allowed an inside-the-park, two-run homer that resulted from a ball lost in the sun.

Reliever Alan Busenitz set the Cavaliers down one-two-three with four strikeouts in two innings.

GPC (13-4, 1-1) begins a two-week stint away from home with a Saturday doubleheader at Chattanooga (Tenn.) State. The next home game is Friday, March 20, with the Jaguars hosting Truett-McConnell at 5 p.m.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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March 2, 2009

Region opener snowed out

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team, which has not played in a week because of nasty weather, resumes Wednesday at home against Darton College—provided the snow melts away by then on its Newton campus field.

The Jaguars (12-3) had three weekend games against the Region 17 foe wiped out by rain, then snow. GPC's USC Salkehatchie game has been postponed until April.

The Wednesday doubleheader is scheduled for 2 p.m.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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Feb. 25, 2009

Jaguars roll in twin bill

In its most dominant day of the season, the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team defeated Shorter College 14-1 and 9-0 Wednesday on the Newton Campus, setting the stage for this weekend's plunge into conference play.

Drew Dentler went five-for-nine with four RBIs in the doubleheader. The Jaguars (12-3) spread the pitching work, using three hurlers in each game. On offense, they pounded out 27 hits and benefitted from 11 errors by the Hawks. They had 12 combined innings at the plate—and scored in everyone.

Trent Freeman's RBI triple was the big blow in the first frame, scoring leadoff batter Drew Dentler, who had reached on an error.

Dadynoel Lorenzo's double and Freeman's single highlighted a five-run second.

Dentler, Freeman and Lorenzo each collected three hits and Blake McCullers went two-for-three to continue his season-long .600 hitting spree.

Jake Dyer (2-0) pocketed the win, with relief help from Tyler Akins and Robbie Hefflinger.

The Jaguars raked 12 singles and a double by Matt Tunnell in the nightcap. Tunnell, Dentler, Charley Boring and Jason Dodson each stroked two hits and Dentler batted in three runs.

Starter Brandon Bast (1-0) notched the win; Brent Hendrick and Charley Boring joined in for the Jaguars' first shutout of the season.

A three-day weekend home series against Darton College kicks off GPC's Georgia Junior College Athletic Association (Region 17) schedule. Saturday's 3 p.m. game will be followed by a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Sunday.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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Feb. 19, 2009

Mathis and Haynie toss twin gems

Will Mathis

Complete-game performances by Georgia Perimeter College pitchers paved the way to a baseball doubleheader sweep Thursday over Piedmont College under bitterly cold conditions in Demorest, Ga.

Sophomores Will Mathis and Ryan Haynie went start-to-finish in 6-3 and 3-1 wins, giving the Jaguars' bullpen a welcome day off.

The GPC fielders had an off day, committing seven errors. None of the runs allowed by Mathis was earned as he allowed six hits, all singles, and struck out eight.

But the Jaguars made up for it at the plate.

Drew Dentler kick-started the opener with a double on the game's first pitch and scored on a single by Robbie Hefflinger, who came around himself on a couple of passed balls. Dadynoel Lorenzo's double ignited a two-run fifth inning that produced the eventual winning run.

Ryan Haynie Lorenzo's bases-loaded single in the nightcap sent home Charley Boring in the second inning. Two innings later, Josh Chambers singled and scored on Lorenzo's double. Lorenzo came in on an errant pick-off throw. The Jaguars (10-3) hope for warmer weather by next Wednesday, when they play host to Shorter College at 2 p.m. on the Newton Campus.

Ryan Haynie

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Feb.17, 2009

Jaguars continue come-from-behind habit

Georgia Perimeter College quickly climbed out of a five-run hole Tuesday with an offensive outburst of its own in overcoming Chattahoochee Valley Community College 8-5 on the Newton campus baseball field.

The Pirates jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning before GPC nearly erased the deficit with a four-run third. Matt Bishop's triple was the big blow.

Russ Cooper's single in the fourth sent home the tying and go-ahead runs. Doubles by Blake McCullers and Robby Hefflinger in the seventh produced an insurance run.

Josh Tapley replaced starting pitcher Rob Crosby in the second and earned the win by completing the sixth without a run allowed. Brent Hendrick pocketed the save with three more shutout innings.

The Jaguars (8-3) took advantage of five Pirates errors in avenging their first loss of the season last week, 5-4 in Phenix City, Ala. The victory adds to several come-from-behind victories the Jaguars have posted this season, including one that erased a 9-0 deficit last week at Chattanooga State Tech.

GPC ventures to Demorest, Ga., on Thursday for a doubleheader with Piedmont College. The next home game is a doubleheader Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. versus Shorter College. Sunday's Gadsen State home game has been postponed.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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Feb. 14, 2009

GPC survives Juneau's HR rampage

Robby Hefflinger hit his fifth home run of the season and is batting .424 with 15 RBIs.

Georgia Perimeter College survived a one-man home run derby and salvaged a split in its last at-bat Saturday of a baseball doubleheader against Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham, Ala.

Robby Hefflinger hit his fifth home run of the season and is batting .424 with 15 RBIs.

The Jaguars erupted for three seventh-inning runs to take the nightcap 4-2 after dropping the opener 6-3.

First baseman Justin Juneau belted three homers to account for all but one Pioneer run in the first game. Losing pitcher Alan Busenitz allowed two, Brandon Bast one.

GPC's Robby Hefflinger provided most of the visitors' offense with a two-run blast in the sixth inning, his fifth of the season.

Juneau smacked another, good for two runs, in his initial trip to the plate during game two.

The Jaguars trailed 2-1 entering the seventh when Blake McCullers delivered a pinch-hit single. After an error put another Jaguar on base, Justin Pagano tied it with a single. Brac Barton's single sent in two more runs.

Starting pitcher Jake Dyer settled down after the early home run and, along with Charley Boring and game-winner Ryan Haynie, blanked Juneau and the Warriors the rest of the way.

McCullers, seeing less action with a hamstring injury, boosted his torrid batting average to .640, with 16 hits, five extra base hits and 13 RBIs.

Meanwhile, Pagano and Hefflinger continue similar paces at the plate with .435 and .424 averages, respectively. Hefflinger has 15 RBIs.

GPC (7-3) takes the field Tuesday at 3 p.m. against Chattahoochee Valley on the Newton Campus. The game originally was scheduled for Wednesday, but the coaches moved it up because of inclement weather predictions.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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Feb. 10, 2008

Jags overcome 9-run deficit

Trent Freeman delivered the winning hit in the first game.

There are comebacks, and there are great comebacks. If Tuesday's against Chattanooga State Technical Community College was not the greatest ever by the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team, it surely ranks among the most memorable.

Trent Freeman delivered the winning hit in the first game.

Down 9-0 after 1 1/2 innings, the Jaguars chipped away, scoring in five of their next six innings and edging the Tigers 10-9 on the Newton campus. Sophomore second baseman Trent Freeman delivered the game-winning hit.

The visitors from Tennessee secured a split in the doubleheader, taking the second game 13-4.

The incredible rally was made possible by five scoreless innings in relief by winning pitcher Rob Crosby. The freshman right-hander allowed only two hits and struck out four.

GPC punched out 15 hits in the comeback. Trailing 9-1 after three innings, the Jaguars scored eight runs in the next three to draw even.

In its last at-bat, Jake Dyer managed a bunt single, and pinch-runner Jason Dodson proceeded to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Dadynoel Lorenzo.

Following an intentional walk, Freeman singled to drive in the game-winner.

In the second game, there was no repeat rally. After GPC took a 2-0 lead, the Tigers piled up a combined 10 runs in the third and fourth innings. A combination of four pitchers could not quell the opponents' uprising.

The Jaguars head to Birmingham on Saturday to face Jefferson State Community College. Their next home game will be on Feb. 18 versus Chattahoochee Valley Community College.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.


Feb. 8, 2009

Jaguar errors lead to first loss

Robby Hefflinger has hit three home runs in six games and has a .600 batting average.

For its initial road trip of the season, the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team left its slick fielding at home.

The Jaguars, who kept errors to a minimum in winning their first five games on their Newton Campus diamond, were undone by three defensive miscues in a 5-4 loss Sunday to Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City, Ala.

Two errors paved the way for four Pirates runs in the third inning, and a third faux pas helped push across the decisive score in the eighth.

None of Chattahoochee's runs was earned. While GPC collected seven hits, the Pirates scratched out just five hits. Will Mathis, in relief, absorbed the defeat.

Trailing 4-1, Georgia Perimeter rallied with two outs in the fifth inning. Zac Bui singled, followed by Blake McCullers' RBI double. Robby Hefflinger then belted a two-run homer, his third round-tripper of the season, to tie the score at 4-4.

In the eighth, the Pirates capitalized when a GPC error put runners on second and third. Freshman center fielder Drew Dentler then made a spectacular catch and doubled off the runner at second, but the play allowed the winning run to score from third base.

The Jaguars (5-1) can start a new victory streak in a home doubleheader at 2 p.m. Tuesday against Chattanooga State Technical Community College.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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Feb. 7, 2009

GPC sweeps Cleveland State CC

Blake McCullers is hitting .636 (7-for-11), with 4 extra-base hits and 9 RBIs.

Georgia Perimeter College swept a doubleheader Saturday by the slimmest of margins, edging Cleveland State Community College 8-7 and 5-4 on the Newton Campus to stay unbeaten.

Blake McCullers is hitting .636 (7-for-11), with 4 extra-base hits and 9 RBIs.

The Jaguars (5-0) had to overcome a three-run deficit in the opener, largely with the bat of freshman catcher Blake McCullers. He went 4-for-4, including a home run and a triple, and rapped one of four singles in the seventh (last) inning when GPC plated the tying and winning runs.

"We're getting some clutch hitting. The middle of the order has been carrying us," said Jaguars head coach Danny Blue. "The pitching has been up and down, but what I like is we keep coming at them."

Trailing by a run in the final at-bat of the first game, McCullers bounced a single into left field to drive in Drew Dentler and tie the score at 7-7.

Two batters later, Matt Bishop then lined a two-out single to left-center to score Zac Bui for the walk-off game-winner.

The other hits in the decisive rally were by Trent Freeman and Robby Hefflinger. Earlier, Russ Cooper ignited a three-run outburst in the fifth inning with a high solo home run over the right field fence.

Pitcher Brent Hendrick came on in relief of Alan Busenitz in the sixth inning to pocket the win.

Lacking only a double, McCullers just missed hitting for the cycle for the second straight game. Against Southern Union College on Thursday he had a single, double and triple.

The second game Saturday was not quite as scary, but GPC had to quell a Cougars' rally in the last inning to secure the win.

Hefflinger, pitching in relief, allowed a run but struck out the side to earn a save. Starter Jake Dyer took the win.

A 6-foot-5 freshman, Hefflinger also contributed at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a double, home run and two RBIs. Dentler and Brac Barton both batted 2-for-3, and Bui went 2-for-4.

The Jaguars were outstanding in the field Saturday, committing just one error.

Sunday, GPC travels to Phenix City, Ala., for a game with Chattahoochee Valley Community College. On Tuesday, the Jaguars host Chattanooga State Technical Community College for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. at the Newton Campus stadium.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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Feb. 5, 2009

Freshmen lead GPC rally

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team, rescued by Rob Crosby's strong relief performance, flipped the script from opening day by rallying from a deep deficit Thursday to down Southern Union State (Ala.) Community College 10-4 on the Newton Campus.

The Jaguars swept Atlanta Christian College on Tuesday by amassing big early leads. Not so against the Bison, who led 4-0 in the middle of the fourth inning.

GPC rousted up two runs in the fourth, then three more in the fifth. A four-run seventh put the Jaguars (3-0) out of reach.

Three freshmen—Crosby, first baseman Robby Hefflinger and catcher Brent McCullers—powered the comeback.

Crosby, a home-schooled freshman right-hander, entered in the fourth and silenced the Bison the rest of the way to earn a win in his first stint with GPC. Facing only 21 batters, he allowed only one hit and a hit-batsman while striking out four.

Hefflinger, from Gainesville High School, collected three hits, including a two-run single in the fifth and a two-run homer in the seventh that was the Jaguars' first round-tripper this season.

McCullers (Loganville H.S.) also drilled three hits, notably a triple and a double.

The Jaguars anticipate warmer weather for their next outing, also at home, at 2 p.m. Saturday against Cleveland (Tenn.) State Community College.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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Feb. 3, 2009

Jaguars beat cold with hot bats

On a frigid opening day, the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team was smoking at the start of both games Tuesday against Atlanta Christian College.

The Jaguars ripped off three runs in the first inning of a 5-2 win, then piled up six runs in the second frame of a 9-2 victory on the Newton campus.

Pitcher Will Mathis earned the first-game win, with fifth-inning relief help from Brent Hendrick, whose strikeout against his first batter snuffed out a Chargers rally. Ryan Haynie collected the victory in game two.

Justin Pagano's double in GPC's initial inning of the season drove in the first run, and sacrifice flies accounted for the next two. Robbie Hefflinger doubled in the third and fifth.

Doubles also were the key hits during the explosive innings in the nightcap. Drew Dentler had one in the midst of the six-run second, and Pagano's was the big blow in the two-run fourth.

GPC is back at it Thursday at 2 p.m. in a home game against Southern Union College.

The Jaguars' home baseball games are played at GPC's Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga.,30014, near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

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Feb. 2, 2009

Jaguar baseball shows promise this season

Will Mathis

Now in his third year as the head baseball coach at Georgia Perimeter College, Danny Blue continues his quest to build the Jaguars baseball program back into a perennial force in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association.

The program won a remarkable 40 games each season from 1991-1999, except for 1993 when they won 38 games. They also won the conference (Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association) three years in a row from 1997-1999, advancing to the Junior College World Series.

However, Blue, a Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame coach, faced a rebuilding task when he took the helm in 2007.

In his two seasons, he's improved the team to a 25-33 record last year and a spot in the Region 17 playoffs. In their first-round three-game playoff series, the Jaguars gave a scare to perennial powerhouse Young Harris College (ranked fifth in the nation at the time) before finally succumbing in the 11th inning of the third game.

"We need to build an attitude that we are supposed to win—that's what we are trying to develop," said Blue. "We've got to get the baseball program back to where it used to be."

Denver Stovall

If the Jaguars continue to improve this season it will likely be behind their pitching staff. The staff will be led by University of Georgia signee Ben Cornwell (Atlanta, Ga., Holy Innocents H.S.) and Will Mathis (Fayetteville, Ga., Starr's Mill H.S.), who has signed with Georgia College and State University.

Cornwell was the 2007 State AA Player of the Year for state champion Holy Innocents and spent last season at Virginia Tech. In high school he set numerous pitching records and even pitched a perfect game in the state semifinals.

"He's the real deal," Blue said.

Mathis, a left-hander, was 4-2 with a 3.00 earned run average last season. He struck out 1.35 batters per inning, which ranked him 17th in the National Junior College Athletic Association. Mathis also held hitters to a .202 batting average.

The Jaguars pitching staff also returns Ryan Haynie (Fayetteville, Ga., Starr's Mills H.S.) and Brent Hendrick (Snellville, Ga., Brookwood H.S.). Haynie was 5-5 with a 3.82 ERA and an opponents batting average of .267. Hendrick appeared in 24 games, mostly in relief. He finished 3-5, with three saves and a 3.29 ERA.

Freshman pitchers Robbie Hefflinger (Gainesville, Ga., Gainesville H.S.) and Alan Busenitz (Athens, Ga., Athens Christian H.S.) should also contribute on the mound for Georgia Perimeter. Hefflinger, a six-foot-five-inch right-handed pitcher, was a member of Team Georgia in 2007 and was All-State at Gainesville High School. He also will contribute with his bat as a first-baseman. Right-hander Busenitz was also an All-State selection at Athens Christian High School.

Offensively, the team returns conference batting champion Denver Stovall (Dacula, Ga., Mill Creek H.S.) to the lineup. Stovall, an outfielder, hit .389 last season, with a .503 on-base percentage and a .484 slugging percentage.

Other key returning offensive pieces include Trent Freeman (Fayetteville, Ga., Starr's Mills H.S.), Jason Dodson (Snellville, Ga., South Gwinnett H.S.) and Matt Bishop (Conyers, Ga., Heritage H.S.)

Freeman, a second baseman, posted the team's second-highest batting average, .331. He led the team with three triples and was co-leader in two-base hits with eight.

Dodson started at shortstop last season, but may see some time at third base this year. He led the team with 176 plate appearances and scored 48 runs. He posted a .489 on base percentage.

Bishop, an infielder-outfielder, finished the 2008 season with clutch hitting against Young Harris College in the playoffs. "He has a very quick bat, a great arm, and in scrimmage games this fall he hit two homers out of our park, which is not easy to do," Blue said.

Blue said another returning sophomore, outfielder Russ Cooper, shows potential and provides good leadership.

Newcomers Blake McCullers (Loganville, Ga., Loganville H.S.), Drew Dentler (Conyers, Ga., Salem H.S.) and Jake Dyer (Conyers, Ga., Salem H.S.) will also need to make an impact on offense for the Jaguars.

McCullers, a catcher, was the 2008 AAAA Player of the Year for the state champions at Loganville High School. A 2008 preseason All-State selection, McCullers was named All-Region in 2006-2008.

Dentler, an outfielder, was a 2008 Honorable Mention All-State selection out of Salem High School. "He had an outstanding fall," said Blue, noting that he was the best player of the fall season.

Dyer, a third baseman, was also an All-State and two time All-Region selection for Salem.

"We want to make the playoffs and get on the other side of the winning ledger," said Blue on his goals for the season. "It depends on how we develop. We can beat anyone on our schedule, but we can also be beaten by anyone on our schedule. We would like to be more consistent."

He added that the team started their fall season hitting well, but struggled at the plate later in the season. Playing against NCAA Division II schools, the Jaguars finished their fall schedule 8-10-2.

Blue thinks Young Harris and Middle Georgia College are still the "cream of the crop" in the GJCAA. They've dominated the region in baseball for many years.

"I think we can crack the top four if our pitching is as good as we think it is," Blue said. "The question is whether or not we can hit the ball."

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Jan. 16, 2009

Congratulations to Will Mathis and Ben Cornwell

Right-handed pitcher Ben Cornwell recently signed with the 2008 College World Series runner-up, University of Georgia.

In 2007, Cornwell led Holy Innocents H.S. to a state championship and was named Player of the Year by the Georgia Dugout Club.

Will Mathis, a left-handed pitcher from Starr's Mill H. S., signed with Georgia College and State University.

Mathis finished last season 17th in the nation in strikeouts per inning, with 1.35 strikeouts per nine innings, while only walking 18.

No ifs, ands or buts there.

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May 5, 2008

Jaguars end with extra-inning heartbreaker

 It was junior college baseball's version of the Hawks-Celtics NBA series—an eighth seed (Georgia Perimeter College) pushing a first seed (Young Harris College) to the brink of elimination.

In this case, the underdog did not get blown out in the finale. Quite the contrary, the Jaguars took the nation’s No. 5 ranked junior college team into extra innings Sunday, only to be thwarted by a home run in the 11th inning that gave the Mountain Lions a 4-3 win and a deciding victory in the best-of-three series that opened the Region 17 tournament.

The game featured a classic pitching duel between Jaguar freshman Brent Hendrick and Young Harris’ Stephen McCray. Hendrick, normally a closer, started for the Jaguars and limited the hard-hitting Lions to three runs in seven innings. McCray threw nine strong innings and held the Jaguars to one run through eight innings.

GPC, down 3-1 entering the ninth inning, tied it on doubles by Kevin Boyd and Matt Bishop, followed by pinch-runner Russ Cooper’s steal of third base and dash home on the catcher’s errant throw.

Jaguars relief pitcher Justin Yackee silenced Young Harris (47-12) in the ninth with a two-out strikeout that stranded two runners in scoring position, sending the game into extra innings.

Yackee set the hosts down one-two-three in the 10th inning, but Trevor Collias’ two-strike blast in the 11th ended a valiant effort by the Jaguars.

The Jaguars outscored the Mountain Lions, who advance to the second round, by three runs in the series played entirely on the winners’ home turf.

GPC finished the season 23-35, 12-18 in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association. The season was billed as a rebuilding season, and the Jaguars’ strong showing in recent weeks speaks well in that regard. With many major contributors returning next year, coach Danny Blue and his squad have their eyes on a bright future for Jaguar baseball.

 

May 4, 2008

Young Harris evens score with GPC

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball season comes down to one game on Sunday.

After a 9-4 loss at Young Harris College on a wet Saturday that leveled the best-of-three series at one apiece, the Jaguars face a Region 17 first-round showdown with the Mountain Lions on the north Georgia campus Sunday at 2 p.m.

Young Harris, fifth-ranked in the nation and top-seeded in the tournament, rallied after a shocking 10-1 setback on Friday. It wasn't easy for the Mountain Lions.

The Jaguars (23-34) jumped ahead 1-0 in the second inning on Kevin Boyd's home run, then grabbed a 4-2 lead in the fifth with three runs.

Craig Sparks opened it with a double, and Russ Cooper walked. After a bunt moved up both runners, Sparks scored on a groundout by Trent Freeman. Casey Young and Watson Lavigno reached base on hit-by-pitch, and an error brought two more Jaguars home.

The Mountain Lions eventually got to losing pitcher Ryan Haynie with four runs in the seventh inning. They added three insurance runs an inning later, setting up Sunday’s payoff game.


        
May 3, 2008

Jaguars surprise top seed Mountain Lions

Proving the old adage that the playoffs are a brand new season, the heavily underdog Georgia Perimeter College baseball team opened its Region 17 tournament on Friday night by stunning Young Harris College 10-1.

GPC (23-33), seeded last in the eight-team field and going against the nation's fifth-ranked junior college team, picked the right time to play its best game of the year.

Freshman hurler Will Mathis was magnificent on the mound, throwing a complete game while allowing just four hits, one walk and a lone earned run. Mathis, backed by error-free fielding, struck out four.

A six-run third inning—on four hits and aided by two of a total of four Young Harris errors—sealed the decision early for GPC.

Denver Stovall, Matt Bishop and Watson Lavigno pounded out two hits apiece. Four of the 10 Jaguar hits were doubles—by Stovall, Bishop, Casey Young and Craig Sparks. Everyone in the starting lineup scored a run.

It was Georgia Perimeter’s second upset of Young Harris (45-12), which won the teams’ series 4-1 on the way to the regular-season conference title. The Jaguars defeated the Mountain Lions 3-2 on April 18 with another pitching gem by Mathis, who struck out eight, and another error-free performance by his teammates.

The best-of-three series resumes Saturday afternoon at Young Harris, with the Jaguars needing one more win to advance in the region tournament. If necessary, Game Three would be Sunday afternoon.

 

May 2, 2008

Jaguars face Young Harris in regional

For the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Also, an oncoming train.

The locomotive is Young Harris College, the Jaguars’ first-round foe this weekend in the Region 17 tournament. The top-seeded Mountain Lions (45-11, 23-5 GJCAA) are ranked fourth in the National Junior College Athletic Association polls and defeated GPC in four of their five regular season meetings.

The best-of-three series begins 7:30 p.m. today, with a second game 3 p.m. Saturday and a third (if necessary) 2 p.m. Sunday, all at Young Harris.

It’s a tall assignment for eighth-seeded GPC (22-33, 12-18), which did knock off Young Harris once this year.

             But the longer-range view is bright. The Jaguars made considerable strides from a forgettable 2007 season in which they wound up 8-30. They broke in a new stadium on the Newton campus that could lure higher caliber recruits from the state and beyond. (The current roster consists entirely of Georgians.) And most contributors this year are freshmen who will return for an encore.

             Of the six .300-plus hitters, five are first-year players. Denver Stovall of Mill Creek High (Hoschton) was the clear leader at .389, followed by Trent Freeman of Starr’s Mill High (Fayetteville) at .331. He edged out Watson Lavigno of Parkview High (Liliburn), the lone sophomore in the hitter parade, who batted .300.

             Freshmen occupied the remaining spots: Greg Adams of Cherokee High (Canton) at .327, Jeremy Reihn of Union Grove High (McDonough) at .317 and Tyler Betsill of Sandy Creek High (Tyrone) at .305.

             Lavigno shared home run honors with fellow sophomore Kasey Young of North Forsyth High (Cumming). Each had six.

             Stovall nosed out Young for most RBIs with 30, two more than the departing catcher.

             The pitching standout was another freshman, Will Mathis of Starr’s Mill, who averaged slightly more than 1 1/2 strikeouts per inning. He went 3-2 with a 3.00 earned-run average.

             His former high school classmate, freshman Ryan Haynie, crafted a 3.82 ERA that led to five wins. Closer Brent Hendrick of Brookwood High (Snellville), yet another freshman, collected three saves and a 3.29 ERA.

            Those numbers, mixed with greater experience, have the Jaguars on track to a winning season in 2009.

April 26, 2008

Jaguars split, head for regional

It was splitsville Saturday for the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team, which polished off its regular season with a 5-3 win and a 5-0 loss to Middle Georgia College on the Newton campus.

GPC extended its victory streak to a yearly best four games on Ryan Haynie's complete game in the opener. Haynie (5-4) permitted just one earned run and walked a lone batter in leading the team to its 12th win in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Conference.

A single and a double by Jason Dodson drove home three runs. The Jaguars did all of their scoring in the second and third innings.

Warrior pitcher Pat Lawson stymied GPC in the nightcap with a three-hit 5-0 shutout. The Jaguars fell into a five-run hole in the second inning and never climbed out, though not without threatening. They had base runners in every inning, stranding nine, but scratched out only one hit after the first inning.

Kevin Boyd (3-4) took the loss.

Next, the Jaguars (22-33, 12-18 GJCAA) travel to Young Harris College for the first round of the Region 17 tournament. They face the host Mountain Lions in a best-two-of-three series, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Young Harris, the region’s top seed, is ranked No. 4 in the National Junior College Athletic Association coaches poll. The Mountain Lions have won the Junior College World Series and made the trip last year to the tournament at Grand Junction, Colo.

The Saturday game starts at 3 p.m., and the Sunday game begins at 2 p.m., if necessary.

 The series winner advances to the four-team double-elimination semi-final round at South Georgia College next week.

 

April 24, 2008

Jaguars down Middle Georgia

            The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team was a perfect storm Thursday, taking Middle Georgia College with gale-force winds 15-0 on the Newton campus.

            The victory came in a complete package: batting (13 hits), fielding (no errors) and pitching (Will Mathis' 12-strikeout shutout to better his record to 3-2.)

            A quick single by Jason Dodson followed by a hit batsman and three walks jump-started the Jaguars’ offense with three first-inning runs. They revved up in the fourth with six runs and matched that total in the fifth.

            Watson Lavigno wielded the biggest bat, with two singles and a double that brought in two runs. Denver Stovall sent home four runs while Greg Adams and Tyler Betsill generated three. All had two hits.

            GPC (21-32, 11-17 GJCAA), with three straight wins, gets two more cracks at Middle Georgia in a doubleheader 2 p.m. Saturday at home that concludes the regular season.

             The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.
 

April 22, 2008

GPC bats win doubleheader

Good things came Tuesday to all those Jaguars who waited.

Nearly two months after its doubleheader at home against Chattanooga State was rained out, the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team poured it on the visitors on makeup day. The twin wins, 14-4 and 7-3, comprised one of the most dominant sweeps of the season for the Jaguars (20-32, 8-17 GJCAA).

It was a sweet payback for the GPC squad because the Tigers had swept a March doubleheader in Tennessee—another bad-weather makeup date—by scores of 10-0 and 9-8.

The opener Tuesday was halted in the middle of the fifth inning by the 10-run rule. Jason Dodson was perfection at the plate with four singles, three of them resulting in RBIs. Greg Adams had a triple, double and single, accounting for four RBIs.

The Jaguars banged out 15 hits, plenty of support for winning pitcher Brent Hardy (3-1).

A six-run outburst in the second inning of the nightcap sealed the deal early. The Tigers scored solo runs in the first, third and sixth innings as pitcher Russ Cooper (2-3) pocketed the win.

The Jaguars close out the regular season on the Newton campus with a game Thursday at 6 p.m. and a doubleheader Saturday against Middle Georgia College, beginning at 2 p.m.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.
 

April 19, 2008

Jaguars upset No. 5 Young Harris

             The good news is the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team upset No. 5-ranked Young Harris College Friday. The bad news is Young Harris shut out the Jaguars in a doubleheader Saturday.

In Friday’s gem against the national powerhouse, Will Mathis and Brent Hendrick tag-teamed for some pitching wizardry in a 3-2 win that required 10 innings on the Newton campus.

            GPC starter Mathis, locked in a pitching duel with Grimes Medlin (11 strikeouts), allowed two runs and struck out eight over eight innings. Hendrick entered a tie game in the ninth and kept the visitors scoreless to earn his second victory. He faced a minimum six batters, whiffing five.

            Trent Freeman opened the Jaguars' 10th with a single and was bunted to second. After an international walk and a single by Jeremy Riehn filled the bases, Denver Stovall slapped a potentially inning-ending double play that the Mountain Lions botched.

Freeman dashed home with the decisive score. He also singled in the sixth inning and scored on a double by Kasey Young.

            Young Harris dominated Saturday's doubleheader, winning 7-0 and 9-0. The Jaguars accumulated seven errors.

            The closest GPC came to scoring was on Freeman's lead-off triple in the fourth inning of the nightcap, but he was stranded after three straight outs. Pitchers Justin Yackee (0-6) and Kevin Boyd (3-3) took the losses.

            The Jaguars (18-32, 8-17) have a makeup doubleheader Tuesday on the Newton Campus against Chattanooga State, postponed from Feb. 9 by rain. On Thursday at 6 p.m., they host Middle Georgia College.
 

April 15, 2008

Pitchers lead GPC to victories

            In a word, the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team's performance Tuesday was . . . complete. Pitchers Brent Hardy and Russ Cooper pitched complete games for victories over Piedmont College.

            Hardy (2-1) struck out seven and allowed just one unearned run in a 10-3 triumph in the first game. Denver Stovall and Chad Turner rapped two hits each. Stovall, Kasey Young, Brad Lunsford and Trent Freeman all had two-base hits.

            Cooper (1-3) achieved his first win of the season with a 10-strikeout masterpiece, allowing only four hits in a 6-1 knockout.

            The Jaguars erupted for a 3-0 lead right from the gun, then tacked on three unearned runs in the third. Freeman collected three singles for GPC.
           
            The suddenly rolling Jaguars (17-30, 7-15 GJCAA) face Young Harris College at home on the Newton Campus at 7 p.m. on Friday and again in a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

           The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

April 14, 2008

Jaguars win one, lose one

            The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team rolled sevens Monday, but its luck was mixed during a doubleheader at Gadsden State Community College (Ala.).

            Seven runs were sufficient in a 7-3 victory to start off the afternoon. However, a last-inning run by the Cardinals for an 8-7 win in the second game left the teams with a split.

            GPC pitcher Jesse Richeson (2-4) finished one out shy of a complete-game win as Alex Mahncke came on to face one batter to close it out. The Jaguars made the most of six hits, two by Watson Lavigno, and staked Richeson to a 3-0 edge after one inning.

            The Jaguars also jumped ahead in the second game on Lavigno's two-run double, launching him to an outstanding game at the plate. He added two solo home runs to go with one by Kasey Young as GPC generated enough offense for a possible sweep.

            But the Cardinals kept pace and sent the game into extra innings with an unearned run in the seventh. They won it in the ninth on a hit batter and two hits off Russ Cooper (0-3).

            Following nine straight road games, the Jaguars (15-30, 7-15 GJCAA) will confront Piedmont College back home Tuesday at 5 p.m. on the Newton campus.

            The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.
 

April 13, 2008

Jaguars win twinbill at Gordon

              Coming off a 13-7 loss to Gordon College on Friday in Barnesville for its seventh straight defeat, the GPC baseball team had to bide its time an extra day because of a Saturday rainout to seek revenge.

            Some things are worth waiting for. The Jaguars beat the Highlanders twice Sunday, 4-1 and 7-5, on perhaps their finest day of the season.

            Will Mathis (2-2) tossed a complete game in the opener spiced by 10 strikeouts, and was backed by error-free fielding. Aside from a home run, no Highlander advanced past first base.

            A double by Jeremy Reihn highlighted the Jaguars' three-run second inning. Watson Lavigno's solo home runs in his first two at-bats helped stake the Jaguars to a 5-1 cushion in the nightcap. But starting pitcher Justin Yackee tired, allowing Gordon to tie it 5-5 in the fourth.

            Trent Freeman's triple was the pivotal hit in GPC's two-run seventh that sealed the win, which went to reliever Brent Hendrick (2-5) in a standout performance.

            With 15 hits Friday, the Jaguars outslugged their foes. But even with five Gordon errors, they could only muster seven runs.

            GPC (14-29, 7-15) completes a seven-city road trip Monday across the border at Gadsden State (Ala.).
 

April 8, 2008

GPC falls to Mountain Lions

          The GPC baseball team tried a pitching strategy reversal Tuesday in an attempt to reverse its fortunes, but the move did not pay off in a 9-2 road loss to Young Harris College.

          Brent Hendrick, the Jaguars' closer, started against the Mountain Lions. Other than allowing a two-run homer in the first and a three-run blast in the sixth, Hendrick did well but still fell to 1-5. His cause was not helped by five GPC errors.

          Watson Lavigno's second-inning home run was the highlight for the Jaguars (12-28, 5-14).

         The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

 

April 7, 2008

ABAC sweeps Jaguars

The GPC baseball team, which has fallen into a habit of close losses, endured two more Sunday against Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Despite out-hitting the home team in both games, the Jaguars were edged 6-5 and 5-4 in Georgia Junior College Athletic Association action.

The next day, they escaped the same fate, but this outcome was painful in another way. ABAC swept the three-game series, which was pushed back a day by rain, with a 13-2 victory.

During Sunday's opener, the Jaguars rallied impressively, scoring in each of the last three innings, but fell short. They played error-free in the field and nearly doubled up on ABAC with an 11-6 advantage in hits. Jason Dodson, Trent Freeman, Greg Adams and Russ Cooper drilled two apiece. Ryan Haynie (4-4) was pinned with the loss.

In the nightcap, Justin Yackee held the Stallions to six hits in a complete-game effort. But five of them were bunched in the sixth inning, when ABAC scored all of its runs. Yackee remains winless at 0-5, unable to profit from 10 GPC hits.

In Monday's game the Stallions’ starter, David Lewis, silenced the Jaguar bats, allowing just four hits. Lewis pitched one-hitter through five innings and threw a complete game.

ABAC took a 4-0 lead in the first inning as GPC’s Jesse Richeson (1-4) was tagged with the loss.

The Jaguars (12-27, 5-13 GJCAA) play at Young Harris Tuesday, and then travel to Gordon College for games Friday and Saturday.

 

April 2, 2008

White stymies Jaguars with gem

The GPC baseball team suffered a White-out Wednesday.

The Jaguars were victimized by a complete-game shutout from Truett-McConnell pitcher Christian White in an 8-0 decision in Cleveland. He struck out five and scattered six hits, five of them singles, over the nine-inning contest.

GPC didn't help losing sophomore pitcher Kevin Boyd and his relievers by committing five errors. The Bears gathered 10 hits, while committing only one error in the field. Boyd dropped to 3-2, while the Jaguars slipped to 12-24, 5-10 in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association.

Georgia Perimeter travels Saturday to Abraham Baldwin College for another conference match-up.

 

March 31, 2008

Andrew tops Jaguars in rainy series

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team needed an extra day but finally got a win over Andrew College to close a three-game set on the Newton campus marked by tight finishes and a weather interruption.

The series began promisingly on Saturday with pitcher Ryan Haynie taking a perfect game and a 3-0 lead into the fourth inning of the opener. But a throwing error paved the way to five runs and an eventual 7-3 defeat. Casey Young threw a scare into Andrew with a two-run homer in the seventh (final) inning, but the Jaguars could not threaten further.

The second game of a scheduled doubleheader was halted in the second inning by rain and lightning with the scored tied 1-1, so the teams resumed Monday. Watson Lavigno's massive home run was not enough to overcome Andrew in a 5-4 setback.

The squads then played a nine-inning game originally scheduled for Sunday, with GPC eking out a much-needed 7-6 win that ended a five-game skid. Denver Stovall went 4-for-4, including two extra-base hits, and Young homered again.

Alex Mahncke earned a save following a strong outing by starter Jesse Richeson, who permitted just four runs in 6 1/3 innings despite too many fielding errors by the team.

With their record slipping to 12-23 overall and 5-9 in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association, the Jaguars begin a two-week stretch on the road. They travel Tuesday to Truett McConnell and Saturday to Abraham Baldwin College for more league action. The team won’t play at home until Tuesday, April 15, when Piedmont College visits for a 5 p.m. game.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

 

March 26, 2008

GPC drops twin makeup games

A blowout and a nail-biter, makeup games from a rainout last month, both went Chattanooga State's way Wednesday as the traveling Jaguars baseball team dropped a doubleheader 10-0 and 9-8.

The losses drop Georgia Perimeter College to 11-21 entering a weekend series on the Newton Campus against conference foe Andrews College, with 2 o’clock starts Saturday and Sunday.

In Wednesday’s opener, the Tigers jumped on starting pitcher Russ Cooper (0-2) in the first inning, resulting in seven runs. Brent Hardy's standout relief stint through the fifth slowed Chattanooga State’s offense, but they generated enough runs in the sixth for the game to be called in accordance with the 10-run rule.

It was the Jaguars who exploded early in the nightcap, batting around in the second and third innings to accumulate seven runs. But the Tigers chipped away and won it in the seventh on a pair of two-out runs. Brent Hendrick (1-4) took the loss.

Watson Lavigno, Greg Adams, Jeremy Riehn and Brad Lunsford all stroked two singles for GPC. The Jaguars' glove work, troublesome of late, improved as they were charged with only three errors in the two games.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.
 

March 25, 2008

TMC evens score with Jaguars

The results of four baseball games in five days between GPC and Truett-McConnell College lead to one conclusion: These two rivals in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association are pretty even.

The Bears took an 8-5 decision Tuesday on GPC's Newton campus, completing a split of their extended series with the Jaguars (11-19, 4-7 GJCAA). By combined scores, Truett-McConnell was superior by a single run.

GPC’s defeat came despite a masterful relief performance by pitcher Will Mathis, who struck out 10 over five scoreless innings. But starter Jesse Richeson (0-2) had put the Jaguars in too deep a hole, and they were again undone by an old nemesis, inadequate fielding. They recorded four errors, while the visitors made none.

Trent Freeman, Tyler Betsill and Russ Cooper smacked two hits each, with Freeman driving in two runs.

Wednesday the Jaguars travel to Chattanooga State for a doubleheader makeup from a rainout last month.

 

March 24, 2008

Jaguars take two of three from TMC

The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team got its fielding problems solved and parlayed it with some strong pitching performances to capture two of three games over the weekend against Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga.

In Friday’s 5-3 victory, the Jaguars were tagged with four errors, but that amount was their fewest in five games. GPC was tied in the seventh when starting pitcher Ryan Haynie gave way to Brent Hendrick, who slammed the door on the home team while the Jaguars scored twice in the eighth for the triumph. Haynie (4-2) earned the win, and Denver Stovall was 3-for-3 at the plate.

The Jaguars committed just one error in the front half of Saturday’s doubleheader but fell 8-3. Watson Lavigno hit two doubles and drove in two runs. But pitcher Justin Yackee (0-3) remained winless.

GPC enjoyed an error-free game in the nightcap, a 6-1 victory co-highlighted by a complete game from pitcher Kevin Boyd (3-1). Boyd had a shutout until the 5th inning.

Trent Freeman, Greg Adams and Nathan Chancey each had two hits, including Freeman’s double and Chancey’s two runs batted in.

The Jaguars improved to 11-18 overall and 4-6 in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association. They aren't done with Truett-McConnell, as they host the Bears in another conference game Tuesday at 6 p.m. at GPC’s Newton Campus stadium.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

 

March 18, 2008

Young Harris trips GPC

Hitting, pitching and fielding troubles all contributed Tuesday to the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team's 8-1 defeat to conference foe Young Harris College on the Newton Campus.

The Jaguars scratched out seven hits, two by Jason Dodson. Their only run was produced in the fifth inning when Watson Lavigno singled in his first at-bat of the season and scored on a hit by Trent Freeman.

Georgia Perimeter was guilty of six errors for the third game in its last four. Meanwhile, Young Harris banged out 14 hits, including a home run. Jesse Richeson (0-2) took the loss on the mound for GPC.

The loss dropped the Jaguars to 9-17 on the season and 2-5 in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association. Closing a nine-game home stand, they take on Truett-McConnell College in Tifton on Friday and Saturday before a return engagement next Tuesday back home in Newton.

 

March 17, 2008

Iowa visitors rally past Jaguars

A five-run lead failed to hold up Monday for the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team, which again suffered fielding glitches in an 11-8 loss to Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College on the Newton Campus.

Russ Cooper’s bases-loaded triple in the first inning highlighted the game-opening outburst. But, by the end of the fourth inning, the visitors had leapt ahead with 10 runs. The Jaguars trotted out five pitchers who gave up a collective 13 hits, and they were hurt by six errors. Chris Anderson (0-2) took the loss on the mound.

Trent Freeman was the Jaguars’ leading hitter, with two singles.

The busy Jaguars (9-16) suit up Tuesday for their fourth game in three days, a 6 p.m. start at home against conference foe Young Harris College from north Georgia.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

March 16, 2008

Jaguars take two from South Georgia

The GPC baseball team overcame some fielding troubles to sweep South Georgia College on Sunday with a couple of one-run wins on the Newton campus.

            The Jaguars committed a combined 11 errors in their 7-6 and 11-10 wins. But 28 hits managed to trump the fielding miscues, and a rally from a 6-0 deficit in the second game lifted GPC's record to 9-15 entering Monday's home date against Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College.

            The South Georgia series began Friday with a 7-4 loss. Starting pitcher Ryan Haynie had a strong seven-inning outing on his birthday, in which he granted one run and was aided by three double plays.

            After Saturday's rain pushed the other two games back a day, the Jaguars generated 11 hits—two each by Jason Dodson and Brad Lunsford—for the 7-6 victory in the first game Sunday. Starting pitcher Justin Yackee amassed nine strikeouts, while the win went to reliever Brent Hendrick, his first of the year.

            The stalwart of the nightcap was Kevin Boyd, who went from catching the first game to relief pitching in the second. He stemmed the tide by allowing just two runs, one earned, in 4 2/3 innings, which allowed the Jaguars to come back with the help of six South Georgia errors. Greg Adams and Jeremy Reihn slapped three hits each.

            Will Mathis was credited with the pitching win, his first, with Alex Mahncke earning the save.  

          The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

 

March 11, 2008

Jaguars big on hits, short on runs

If baseball were scored by the number of hits rather than runs, Georgia Perimeter College would have swept a doubleheader Tuesday.

However, the Jaguars left too many runners on base and lost a pair of games 3-2 and 5-4 to Roane State (Tenn.) on GPC’s home field at its Newton Campus.

Rightfielder Denver Stovall went a combined 5-for-7 at the plate as GPC outhit the visitors 8-4 in the opener and 16-7 in the nightcap. Leftfielder Trent Freeman pounded out three singles in the second game.

Too few of the hits generated runs as the Jaguars slipped to 7-14 this season. Pitchers Russ Cooper and Will Mathis were stuck with the losses.

GPC settles in at home this weekend with games against South Georgia Tech at 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.


March 9, 2008

GPC falls, rises again

Three days after splitting a doubleheader with Cleveland State Community College in Tennessee, Georgia Perimeter College did it again Sunday on its Newton Campus home field.

Both games were one-run affairs, the Jaguars dropping the opener to Cleveland State 6-5 before winning the rematch 5-4. The day ended with GPC still five games below
.500 at 7-12.

A sacrifice fly by Brandon Mock in the last inning that broke a 4-4 tie closed out the tense twinbill on a high note for GPC.

Starting pitcher Ryan Haynie earned GPC's first complete  game of the season, bettering his record to  3-2.

The opener went eight innings, one more than scheduled for a doubleheader. After Cleveland State nosed ahead in the top half, Brad Lunsford doubled and was bunted over to third base. But he was stranded there as the game ended, with Brent Hendrick taking the loss.

Tuesday, the Jaguars host Roane State in another double-header.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington. 

March 6, 2008

Victory defeat combination

  The GPC baseball team was outscored by an aggregate eight runs last Thursday at Cleveland State (Tenn.) Community College, but the Jaguars will gladly take the result: one win, one loss.

   A 10-1 defeat in the opener was followed by a 5-4 victory, moving GPC to 6-11 this season.

   Rightfielder Denver Stovall's run-scoring triple in the second inning of the nightcap ignited the offense. Second baseman Brad Lunsford had three singles, while catcher Casey Young and designated hitter Greg Adams contributed two hits apiece. Kevin Boyd earned the win, his second in three decisions.

   The first game was forgettable for GPC, which committed four errors and scratched out only six hits. Chris Anderson was tagged with the loss.

 

March 2, 2008

GPC drops conference opening series

It was no road trip to remember for the GPC baseball team. The Jaguars came up empty-handed in three weekend outings against against Darton College in Albany, a rough start to the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association portion of their schedule.

On Saturday, the Jaguars dropped a doubleheader, 6-2 and 6-1. Sunday's score was 5-4.

GPC outhit the Cavaliers in two games, including the opener, when Denver Stovall went 3-for-3. Starting pitcher Justin Yackee (0-2) took the loss.

Dalton dominated the second game, limiting the Jaguars to two hits. Pitcher Ryan Haynie saw his record evened at 2-2.

GPC spotted the Cavaliers a 5-0 lead on Sunday as pitcher Jesse Richeson failed to get out of the second inning. Alex Mahncke did yeoman's work in relief, shutting Darton down after allowing one run in the second.

The chipped away at the lead with four runs and outhit the Cavaliers 12-5, with Brandon Mock going 3-for-4. A pair of baserunners stranded in the eighth inning sealed the Jaguars’ doom.

GPC (5-10, 0-3 GJCAA) gets acquainted with Cleveland State this week with games Tuesday on the road and Saturday at home, beginning at 1 p.m.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

Feb. 27, 2008

Jaguars freeze in late innings

A baseball game played Wednesday in football-like weather wound up with a football-like score, with GPC on the losing end.

The Jaguars frittered away a late lead and fell to Piedmont College 12-11 in Demorest.

With game-time temperatures in the low 30s having dropped below freezing, GPC carried a 10-6 advantage into the bottom of the eighth. But Piedmont erupted for six runs, highlighted by an inside-the-park home run.

The Lions scratched out only eight hits but benefited from three GPC errors.

Chris Anderson pitched 4 1/3 solid innings in the middle of the game for GPC. Starter Brent Hardy lasted just 1 2/3 innings, while late reliever Brent Hendrick took the loss.

Third baseman Jeremy Reihn went 3-for-5, and catcher Kasey Young drove home three with a double and single as the Jaguars managed five more hits than the winners.

The teams agreed to eliminate one game of the scheduled doubleheader because of the cold. The Jaguars (5-7) look for warmer weather in South Georgia this weekend, opening their Georgia Junior College Athletic Association schedule with a series against Darton College.
     

Feb. 20, 2008

Young’s long ball powers GPC

With Casey at the bat, the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team managed a doubleheader split on Wednesday afternoon with Roane State in Harriman, Tenn., winning the second game 4-3.

Sophomore catcher Casey Young made the difference with a solo home run, reprising his round-tripper in the opener, a 7-2 defeat.

Justin Yackee, normally a starter, picked up a rare save when he entered the second game in the seventh (final) inning and induced two ground balls out of the Raiders—the second resulting in a double play that ended the game.

Starter Ryan Haynie (2-1)—who got the win—permitted two home runs, but both were solo. He atoned by picking off two runners at first base.

Pitcher Kevin Boyd absorbed the defeat in the first game as the Raiders piled up 10 hits, including two doubles and a home run. Roane State starter Jacob Jones held GPC to four hits, the big one being Young’s homer.

The Jaguars (5-6) rest up for a doubleheader on Tuesday against Chattanooga State (Tenn.) at the Newton Campus, beginning at 2 p.m.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.
   

Feb. 19, 2008

Freeman leads Jaguars’ hit parade

The GPC baseball team got a win in heavy winds Tuesday, and it was no breeze. The Jaguars rallied from deficits of 5-1 and 10-5 to outlast Chattahoochee Valley 12-11 on the Newton Campus.

Trent Freeman went 5-for-5, all singles, and scored three runs, while relief pitcher Brent Hendrick tamed the Pirates’ bats in the ninth inning for his third save.

GPC starter Jesse Richeson allowed Chattahoochee a 5-1 lead, but the Jaguar bats came alive and tied it with four runs in the fourth inning. Then five runs, all unearned, in the sixth gave the visitors a comfortable lead.

Chipping away, GPC promptly answered with two runs, then stormed ahead in the seventh with five runs on a mixture of five singles and three Pirate errors.

Hendrick's strikeout after a scored run ended the Chattahoochee eighth, and he escaped the ninth inning with just one base runner allowed.

Reliever Chad Sise (1-0) earned the win in relief for GPC (4-5), which plays a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon against Roane State in Harriman, Tenn.

 

Feb. 16, 2008

GPC falls despite Yackee's performance

The good news was that the top starter for the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars, sophomore Justin Yackee, matched a 90-mile-per-hour fastballer for six innings.

However, the bullpen couldn’t match Yackee's performance as the GPC baseball team fell 9-4 Saturday to Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City, Ala.  Yackee, enabled by some small-ball offense, left his team with a 4-2 lead after six innings. He was removed because the starters are confined to a pitch count this early in the season.

In the seventh inning, reliever Will Mathis allowed a bases-loaded triple in his only inning, and Chattahoochee Valley took a 5-4 lead. Chattahoochee scored four more runs in the eighth off Alex Mahncke to put the game out of reach.

The defeat snapped a three-game win streak for the Jaguars (3-5), but they get a rematch with the Pirates on Tuesday afternoon at 2pm at GPC’s Newton Campus.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington. 

Feb. 14, 2008

Jaguars bats come alive

Brent Hardy started and went 4+ innings, walking four and picking up one strike out while giving up two runs, one earned, in the 2nd inning. That was all the Lake Land College Lakers could muster in an 8-2 victory for Georgia Perimeter College.

 Georgia Perimeter drove in eight runs with nine hits making a strong showing in the 2nd inning. Singles from Sparks, Cooper and Riehn; a double by Stovall; a sacrifice bunt by Bishop; and walks from Dodson and Betsill led to four Jaguar runs. Singles by Betsill ad Sparks around a sacrifice bunt by Young resulted in another run in the 5th inning. Doubles in the 6th from Stovall, Norton, and Young along with stolen bases by Norton and Mock capped off Perimeter’s scoring with three more runs.

 Sise came into the game for middle relief and gave up just one hit over two innings. Hendrick picked up the save, facing just three batters in the 7th inning.

 On a somber note, first baseman Chad Turner was struck in the face by a pitched ball in the 6th inning. His condition is unknown at the writing of this piece.

 Game 2 of the double header provided more excitement. Starter Ryan Haynie pitched a strong six innings for a Perimeter win giving up just two singles, one double, and one walk while striking out three.

 On the offensive side, the 2nd inning was once again lively for the Jags. Boyd started the inning with a double and Adams drove him in with a single, then was thrown out attempting to steal 2nd. Cooper started it off again with a walk ad Mock drove him in with a double. Mock landed at 3rd due to an error handling Mock’s hit by Lake Land’s left fielder and was easily plated by Stovall’s single. At the end of two innings the Jags led the Lakers 3-1.

 The 5th inning was also good for the Jags offense. A single by Stovall led the inning. Dodson followed with a walk and Freeman moved them into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Riehn’s single scored both runners. Although Perimeter loaded the bases they couldn’t push any more runs across in the 5th, but picked up one more in the 6th inning.

 With a 6-1 lead for Perimeter, Alex Mahncke took the mound to start the 7th inning. The Lakers liked what he was throwing managing a single, a triple to score a run, and a walk before Hendrick was brought in to shut them down. Hedrick hit the first batter he faced to load the bases, then gave up a single to plate the 2nd run of the inning. He settled down after that striking out the next batter then securing the final out with a fly ball to the short stop for his second save.

 Next game is AWAY: Saturday, February 16th at Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City, AL. Game time is 2pm.

 Next HOME game: Tuesday, February 19th vs. Chattahoochee Valley Community College. Game time is 2pm.

Feb. 10, 2008

Jaguars notch first victory at new field

Georgia Perimeter College’s new ballpark had only resulted in disappointments for the home team. When the Jaguars stumbled 5-1 to Gadsden (Ala.) State in the opener of a doubleheader Saturday, it sank them to 0-4, all at the recently unveiled facility on the Newton campus.

But GPC scratched out a pair of runs in each of the first three innings during the nightcap, and yeoman relief work by pitcher Kevin Boyd preserved a 6-1 victory that finally got the Jaguars off the “L” column.

Boyd replaced Jesse Richeson, who had walked the bases full in the fourth. He threw one pitch to close out the inning with no damage and lasted three more frames, allowing nary a run.

Run-scoring hits by Jeremy Reihn and Greg Adams in the first inning was all Georgia Perimeter (1-4) needed. Brad Lunsford's two-run single in the second allowed for some breathing room. In the third, Casey Young scored on a passed ball and Matt Bishop on a pop-up single by Jason Dodson.

The first game started with promise as GPC pitcher Justin Yackee mowed down the Cardinals through three innings and had recorded two outs in the fourth. But a pair of two-run singles put the Jaguars down 4-0, a hole in which they never climbed out. All the Jaguars could muster offensively was a double by Russ Cooper that scored Craig Sparks.

With a doubleheader last Saturday at Chattanooga State wiped out because of wet grounds, the Jaguars will play their first seven games at home. Visiting Thursday afternoon for a doubleheader is Lakeland (Ill.) beginning at 2 p.m.

The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.

Feb. 2, 2008

Jaguars christen stadium with setbacks

The first pitch to Guilford Tech’s Brandon McKinney was a high fastball.

Justin Yackee of Powder Springs, Ga., delivered the historic first pitch as Georgia Perimeter College broke in its impressive new baseball stadium Saturday at GPC’s Newton Campus.

But from the Georgia Perimeter point of view, there were a few missing items from the historic unveiling—permanent bleachers, a permanent sound system and a Jaguars victory.

GPC lost three tightly contested games to Guilford Tech (N.C.), putting a slight damper on the ballpark's festive curtain-parting at the Newton campus. The Jaguars dropped a Saturday doubleheader 3-2 and 5-3, and then returned Sunday for a 6-5 defeat.

“We could have won all three,” head coach Danny Blue said. “We didn't hit the ball hardly at all. We got good pitching.”

None better than right-hander Yackee, who threw five no-hit innings with 10 strikeouts in the opener. Because Blue is observing a maximum pitch count of 75 for his starters, a common practice early in the season, Yackee was lifted in the sixth inning. Three GPC errors contributed to Guilford's runs.

“Routine plays, and we didn't make them,” Blue said.

The first run by the Jaguars at their new facility was scored in the second inning by catcher Kevin Boyd. He walked, moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Chad Turner, advanced to third base on a balk and scored on a 4-3 fielder’s choice by Russ Cooper, who chalked up the first RBI.

Passed balls were the culprit in the nightcap, with three in one inning leading to two runs that broke the game open.

Sunday's setback was perhaps the most painful. The Jaguars tied it 5-5 in the eighth inning and had the go-ahead run thrown out at the plate. Then, in the top of the ninth, Guilford scratched out the winning run on a walk, a swinging bunt and a balk.

GPC's top hitters over the weekend were Jason Dodson, Craig Sparks and Boyd. The losing pitchers were Alex Mahncke, Ryan Haynie and Brent Hendrick.

The Jaguars play a pair Saturday at Chattanooga State, then return home for a twinbill Sunday against Gadsden (Ala.) State. The bleachers and the permanent P.A. system are coming soon—and some wins, the Jaguars hope, sooner still.

Feb. 1, 2008

GPC building new stadium, new baseball era

            If Danny Blue stays true to form, it’s a new era in Georgia Perimeter College baseball, or a revival of an old era. Not only does this spring’s season mark a move to GPC’s new Newton Campus with brand new baseball and softball fields, but it also promises to put Blue’s cleat prints on Jaguar baseball lore.

            After hastily taking charge of the college’s baseball program in 2006, Blue is settled in with his first recruiting class and ready for the upcoming season. As one of the most successful high school baseball coaches in Georgia—a perennial regional contender and a member of the Georgia High School Dugout Club Hall of Fame—Blue may be as qualified as anyone to bring back the glory days of GPC baseball, the dominant years of the 1980s and ’90s.

            The Jaguars posted an impressive 10-7 record in the fall exhibition period. However, Blue cautions, “Many teams hold back their pitching aces and do plenty of experimenting with personnel. But I was pretty pleased overall.”

            As practice opened in January, a few weeks before the Feb. 2 season opener at home against Guilford (N.C.) Tech, Blue was far from settled on a lineup. The Jaguars are freshman-laden, so he foresees fluidity within the starting group deep into the schedule.

            “This is like a big puzzle,” he says of piecing together the first-string cast.

            One of few certainties is pitcher Justin Yackee from Powder Springs (McEachern High School). Wielding an 88-mph fastball, he accounted for three of the 2007 staff’s wins and assumes the lead role in the rotation.

            Mound experience drops off after Yackee, though not necessarily the talent. Other candidates include freshmen Ryan Haynie of Fayetteville (Starr’s Mill High) and Jesse Richeson of Duluth (Duluth High). Brent Hendrick of Snellville (Brookwood High) looms as the closer.

            “That's our challenge, to see if the young guys come around,” Blue says.

            Of the field positions, only catcher is set in stone with Kevin Boyd of Conyers (Rockdale County High), though he also will take an occasional turn throwing rather than receiving.

            Two sure starters have yet to find a home. Russ Cooper of McDonough (Eagles Landing Christian High) probably will be stationed in right field, though he could slide over to center. Trent Freeman of Fayetteville (Starr’s Mill High) will wind up at second base or left field, depending on how the infield spot sorts out. There, he is contending with Matt Bishop of Conyers (Heritage High) and Tyler Norton of McDonough (Henry County High).

            In the outfield, Cooper could share the company of Watson Lavigno of Lilburn (Parkview High) in left or Brandon Mock of Portal (Portal High) in center.

            Should Freeman settle in at second base, the left field job goes to Denver Stovall of Suwanee (Mill Creek High).

            The rest of the infield pecking order is a free-for-all. Three players are vying at first base—top returning home run hitter Nathan Chancey of Duluth (Duluth High), Chad Turner of Suwanee (Peachtree Ridge High) and transfer Tyler Betsill of Tyrone (Sandy Creek High).

            A vacancy at shortstop caused by the academic ineligibility of the incumbent has opened the door to freshmen Brad Lunsford of Jackson (Jackson High) and Jason Dodson of Snellville (South Gwinnett High).

            Third base shapes up as a showdown between Craig Sparks of Conyers (Rockdale County High) and Jeremy Riehn of McDonough (Union Grove High).

            Helping Blue whip the team in shape is a solid lineup of baseball veterans: assistant head coach Stewart Bailey, assistant coach Thomas Briscoe, strength and conditioning coach Joe Hughes and

            The player lineup is not the only unfinished product. The Jaguars are beginning the season before final touches are applied to the stadium, and a state-of-the-art fieldhouse, with locker rooms and batting cages, will not be finished until later this year. With little choice for alternate sites, the Jaguars hope to play around and through the construction wrap-up.

            “Once it's all completed, bringing in [quality] recruits is going to put us over the top,” said Blue, who aspires to expand the recruiting base beyond state borders. “It's really going to become the place to be.”

            The Jaguars’ home baseball games are played at GPC’s Newton Campus, 239 Cedar Lane, Covington, Ga., near the intersection of I-20 and State Route 11 east of Covington.
 

Jan. 30, 2008

Early commitments promising for Jaguars

Georgia Perimeter College head baseball coach Danny Blue recently announced five early commitments from high school players to join the Jaguar baseball program next season. The athletes and Coach Blue’s comments:

Rob Crosby: “A top pitching prospect from Loganville. This right-hander possesses a mid-to-upper-80s fastball with tremendous command of his curve ball and change-up.  The GPC baseball program is definitely looking forward to Rob coming in and competing for a conference pitching role.”

Blake McCullers: “A big time catching prospect from Loganville High School. This year’s GPC Jaguars squad loses all three of our catchers to graduation, so adding Blake to our program was the number one priority this year. Blake played of Team Georgia this past summer, and we are ready for him to come in and have an immediate impact next season.”

Jake Dyer:  “One of the brightest pitching prospects in this area. Jake is a right-handed pitcher from Salem High School in Conyers.  He has dominant stuff with a powering mid to upper 80's fastball and great control of all his pitches. The GPC coaching staff is ecstatic about adding Jake to our team, and we are looking forward to him competing for a big time role in our pitching staff.”

Micheal Madison:  “A superb outfield hitting prospect from down in Vidalia, Georgia. Micheal has one of the sweetest swings we have seen this year, and is a very impressive young man. He also possesses quality outfield play that we are in need of, and we are excited about the possibility of adding his bat to our lineup.”

Drew Dentler:  “A left-handed hitting outfield prospect from Salem High School in Conyers. Drew is a very good athlete that gets a great jump on the ball, and that asset is going to be a premium for our new expansive ball park. He'll have a great opportunity to compete for a job in the outfield next year.”