Baseball season breaks records


Photo by Brandon Dyer

Palmer Sapp bats against the Triton College Trojans at Lake Point Center in Emerson, GA in the March 2 game.

It has been a record-breaking season for the GHC baseball team and Head Coach Dash O’Neill. As of April 17, the Chargers had a 36-6 record, the best record through their first 42 games in program history. 25 of those wins came at home while the other seven came on the road.

Though the Chargers were ranked nationally earlier in the season, as of April 17, they are no longer nationally ranked. But they are right on the outside looking in. They had the second most receiving votes of a team that did not get into the top 20.
O’Neill said, “As far as getting higher ranks and staying ranked, we have to make some noise in the postseason and have sustained success.

“If you’re not from Florida, Texas or Kansas — the three conferences regarded by the national office as the strongest — it can be difficult to get the respect you deserve until you can get into the JUCO World Series and show them in person how good you are.”

As of April 17, the Chargers were highly ranked in multiple categories, ranking third in stolen bases, 135, and third in shutouts with nine. The Chargers were in the top 15 in multiple categories. Their .361 batting average ranked eighth in the nation and their 19 triples ranked 10th. They ranked 11th in the nation in extra base hits, 149, on base percentage, .463, and doubles, 89. They ranked 12th in runs batted in, 323, 13th in total bases, 680, and sacrifice flies, 22, 14th in hits, 430, and 15th in runs scored, 359.

O’Neill said, “…rankings don’t matter once you are out on the field playing the game, and we’ve got a very good team right now at GHC. There isn’t another group in the country I would trade them for.”

The Chargers have a high-ranking offense, scoring 8.5 runs per game as of April 17. Freshman outfielder, Connor Todaro, led the team in batting average at .469. He is also tied with sophomore infielder, Palmer Sapp, for the most triples on the team, both sitting at four. Todaro also leads the team in hits with 67 and runs with 50.

Sapp leads the team in runs batted in, with 50, and slugging percentage, .717. He was also second on the team in batting average, .442, hits, 53, and on base percentage, .517.

David Smith led the team in home runs and is second on the team in runs batted in, with 46, while being tied with freshman infielder, Joe Sutton, for second on the team in runs, with both players having 41. Sutton is also third on the team in hits.
The Chargers have seen multiple pitchers have good seasons. Johnny Dow threw GHC’s first-ever no-hitter earlier this year on February 7, against Snead State.

As of April 17, Dow led the nation in shutouts this season with three. His 1.39 ERA ranked seventh in the nation, while his five complete games rank third. Dow was 7-0 as of April 17, with his seven wins ranking 14th in the nation.

“I could not be more proud of Johnny Dow and the rest of our athletes. What these guys have done in the circumstances we have been faced with is remarkable, and I am just humbled and proud to get to go to work with them every day. This is one of the most resilient, mentally tough teams I have ever been a part of,” said O’Neill.

Freshman pitcher, Chase Townsend, has started the most games for the Chargers this season, with 10. His 52.2 inning pitched is good for the second most on the team, only trailing Dow. Townsend, Dow, and freshman pitcher, Connor Perry, are all tied for the team lead in wins, with seven apiece. Perry’s 3.2 era is good enough for second on the team, trailing only Dow.

As of April 17, the Chargers were in a prominent position to make a run in the GCAA tournament and possibly a deep playoff run in their path to the JUCO World Series.