2018 Georgia Highlands College Baseball Preview

2018 Georgia Highlands College Baseball Preview

The GHC Baseball team enters the 2018 season looking to capitalize on the momentum created by their record breaking 2017 campaign. After a year that saw countless team and individual program records fall, the first NJCAA Region XVII Championship in program history, and a #12 finish in the NJCAA polls, Chargers second year skipper Dash O'Neill's expectations are higher than ever. "I think the bar has been set, word has gotten around, and we're going to have a bullseye on our back all year. I love it. We've got an extremely talented group this season that's up to the challenge and has a great chance to get us back to the National Tournament. We've got some exciting arms, a very fast defense, and an explosive offense, so we're poised to do some big things in 2018."


Returning to bolster the starting rotation for the Chargers are Matthew Norton and Drew Wilson. Norton was an All-GCAA selection in '17 with a miniscule 1.81 ERA, while Wilson finished second in the league in strikeouts and led the nation in starts and shutouts. Tyler Sellers was the Chargers best relief pitcher a year ago, and after a very strong fall he will see action both as a starter and as the staff fireman in 2018. Strike-thrower Jeremiah Woods also returns from last year's staff, and the big right-hander is poised to have a great season for the Chargers.  Outfielder turned pitcher Alex Holdbrooks is coming off a great summer season and could also be a big factor in 2018. 

In addition to the returners, the Chargers have added a bevy of talented young arms. Kevin Barham and Zach Fordham are the two left handed options on the staff, and they are complimented by right-handers Travis Kuebler, Jake Meyer, Connon Dove, Cody Johnson, Dalton Bradford, Jacob Henley, and Brady Barker. Bolstering the bullpen are a trio of two-way players in Sam Warren, Jason Woszczynski, and Skylar McPhee. McPhee was the favorite this fall to take the closer's role, though he could be challenged by hard throwing transfer Noah Bryant.


The Chargers will boast another strong catcher's corps in 2018. Freshman Parker Orr and Dalton Presley both had excellent fall seasons and will see time behind the dish this season. Orr was one of the leading hitters for the Chargers this fall and is a line drive hitter with power and a good eye. Presley is a blue collar type of player who is a plus defender and has huge offensive potential. Orr and Presley are joined by hard hitting transfer Blake Brady, who provides big time power, soft hands, and is also a capable first baseman.


With only one returning infielder, the Chargers will rely on several freshman on the infield this spring. Miguel Urbina is the lone returner in the group. The versatile sophomore will be used primarily at second base, but is capable of playing virtually any position on the field and is a scrappy hitter who can grind out at bats to get on base. Freshman Austin Foster is a defensive stalwart that will see time at both middle infield positions. Transfers Joey Demasi and Willis Kemp complete the middle infield for Dash O'Neill in 2018, and he has high expectations for the duo. Demasi is a five tool player with power, and Kemp is a hard-nosed, high energy spark plug that can help set the tempo for the Chargers on the field.

At the hot corner are freshmen Jason "Wojo" Woszczynski and Skylar McPhee who are perfect compliments to one another. Wojo is a hard hitting left handed bat with deceptive pop while McPhee is an intimidating presence from the right side with a cannon for an arm. Both players also pitch, creating an ideal platoon situation when the need arises. Left handed thumper Bryson Horne was one of the top hitters for the Chargers this fall, and he will be joined by Blake Brady at first base this spring. The only other sophomore on the infield is transfer Jake Bogosian, a middle of the order type of left handed hitter who can play either corner position.


Like the rest of the offense, the Charger outfield will feature loads of talented young players to compliment a single returning player. Nick Piccapietra returns after a terrific 2017 campaign in which he belted out a .331

batting average with 8 doubles and 27 RBI's. Redshirt sophomore Cameron Hearn was a force for the Chargers this fall and has an exciting blend of power and speed that will be fun to watch this year. Center field will be patrolled by West Virginia Transfer Zachary Miller, who is blazingly fast and has a wide array of offensive weapons. Freshmen Jaree Pledger, Brandon Allen, and Spencer Lewis are all multi-tool players who each possess game changing talent and will compete to be regulars this spring. Sam Warren is a two way player with tremendous speed and athleticism that will be asset to the Chargers both as a shut-down relief pitcher and a versatile offensive threat.