GC baseball begins season against Emmanuel


Courtesy of GC Athletics

Redshirt senior Ashton Sturgell gets ready to pitch

Jennifer Crider, Arts & Life Editor

The GC baseball season began Feb. 1 with a 4-2 win against Emmanuel College. Before the season started, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association ranked GC’s team as ninth in the Preseason Southeast Region Top Ten. 

With two of the previous national champions in this region, some players are grateful for their ranking in such a difficult division. However, others believe they could have done better last season. 

“We had a pretty good year last year, but I think we should have won some games that we dropped midweeks and a couple on the weekends,” said Trey Ham, center and first base fourth year. “I think for what we did last year, it is pretty fair. But, I think this year we have a really good shot to jump some of the teams that are ahead of us.”

Ashton Sturgell, right handed pitcher fifth year, is using this ranking as motivation for the current season. 

“I would be lying if I said we were surprised by our ranking,” Sturgell said. “We lost a lot of dudes from our starting lineup, so I do not think anyone is really expecting much out of us, so I would not say I am surprised. But, it is definitely fuel, for sure.” 

The team is confident in their abilities, as they have been working diligently and shifting their goals to ensure an increase in their ranking. 

“Our main focus this season is to come out and make a statement early on,” said Brandon Bellflower, first base and outfield fourth year. “I feel like in years past, we have kind of started out a little bit slower than I have liked.”

Although this is the official beginning of the season, baseball season for the team is all year round, with the players training months in advance. 

“In the fall, we would work out three days a week, and once we stopped baseball activities, we worked out two days a week,” Sturgell said. “In season, it is gonna be two total-body days a week. But, a lot of explosive body movement, just ‘cause that translates more to in-game stuff.”

This intensive work is not easy, and many players are experiencing what Matthew Chester, outfield graduate student, referred to as “the injury bug.” 

“I was out for most of the fall. I had knee surgery over the summer, so I was out for most of the fall,” Chester said. “I was not 100 percent. I had to work back in rehab and over the fall and all winter break to get back to normal, but now I am back to pretty much 100 percent.”

Outside of team training, some players utilize other tools to get themselves ready. Parker Kauffman, center fourth year, makes working on his flexibility a top priority in preparation for his position as catcher. 

“Going to yoga has been one of the biggest things,” Kauffman said. “In the fall, I think we made kind of a joke out of it at first. We would go every chance we could get, but we kind of fell in love with it. Me and Chester go every week.”

Physical preparation is clearly important; however, healthy lifestyle habits are equally as imperative in making sure their performance is at the best of their abilities. 

“I have tried to develop better eating habits in the past year or so, but over break, I tried to change the way I throw,” Sturgell said. “As far as how often and how much intent, just to try to get my arm healthy and get it ready for the season.”

Though there have been some hardships this year with injuries and valuable players graduating, one thing the team all agreed on is that they felt prepared and ready to take on this new season. 

“I feel we are as ready as we are gonna be,” said Bellflower. “I think everyone is excited. I think the ultimate goal this year is to come out with our hair on fire and play Georgia College baseball.”