Ten high-school seniors visited Georgia Highlands College on Monday, April 22 to sign letters of intent for the college’s inaugural baseball team, which begins next academic year, 2013-2014. The recruits come mainly from the northwest Georgia area, and include one player from Cartersville, five from Cobb County, and one each from Floyd, Lumpkin, Gwinnett and Dawson Counties.
Baseball Coach Mike Marra signed a first group of recruits last January. Despite getting first-rate players, he acknowledged the challenges of beginning a baseball program. “There are so many pieces to creating a program, from securing practice and game facilities to forging partnerships and relationships, but in the midst of all that, to have gathered so many talented young men makes the effort very rewarding.” he said.
Marra bases his opinion about the abilities of the new team on some impressive high-school records. Mitchell Mannino of Marietta, for example, let his team to the Region 4 AAAAA championship, the AAAAA state quarter-finals and 15 straight wins for Hillgrove High School, a school record. Ty Fowler of Cartersville pitched a perfect game on the WWBA All-Tournament team in July 2012. Elijah White from Kennesaw was a 2013 Perfect Game Stand-out.
Baseball and softball are the second competitive sports program for Georgia Highlands, which announced in April 2011 it would launch athletics. Men’s and women’s basketball teams played their first conference season this past fall. The women’s team, coached by Melissa Wood, will be announcing its inaugural team this week. Competitive play kicks off in spring 2014. GHC is a member of the Georgia College Athletic Association, which is part of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The basketball program is based on the Floyd campus in Rome; baseball and softball programs will be run from the Cartersville campus.