Col­le­giate base­ball comes to Cov­ing­ton

Jaguars host Guil­ford Tech Satur­day at New­ton cam­pus

The Covington News - - Sports - By Brian Harper

As win­ter be­gins to fade and the spring months come to Cov­ing­ton this year, the change in scenery is not alone.

En­ter: the new Ge­or­gia Perime­ter Col­lege Jaguars base­ball team.

“Be­ing from the area, New- ton County has some of the best ball play­ers in the state,” said head coach Danny Blue, “so I am look­ing for­ward to play­ing in front of a com­mu­nity (who) knows and sup­ports base­ball.”

The sea­son gets un­der­way with a dou­ble header against Guil­ford Tech at 1 p.m. on Satur­day. It will be the in­au­gu­ral home opener for the Jaguars here in New­ton County.

Blue comes to Ge­or­gia Perime­ter af­ter 26 years of coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at Her­itage High, where he col­lected seven re­gion cham­pi­onships, was hon­ored Coach of the Year and named seven-time Re­gion Coach of the Year.

In 2006, Blue re­ceived high school base­ball’s most pres­ti­gious honor by be­ing elected to the Ge­or­gia High School Dugout Club Hall of Fame.

“A per­fect fit, and ex­actly who we needed to hire to bring the base­ball pro­gram back to its glory days,” said GPC Ath­letic Di­rec­tor Greg Ward.

Putting his ut­most faith in Blue, Ward feels he will be able to use his knowl­edge and ex­per­tise of the game to get the Jaguars back on track af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing 2007 sea­son.

“We are still re­build­ing,” said Blue. “The pro­gram has been down for the past three years, but we have brought in some good ball play­ers.”

The Jaguars, who play un­der the GJCAA rules, will face some steep com­pe­ti­tion this sea­son. Meet­ing op­po­nents like na­tion­ally ranked Young Har­ris should cer­tainly come as no easy task.

“We will play a lot of good teams this sea­son,” stated Blue. “Of course we want to win, but if noth­ing else we want to be able to stand toe-to-toe with them un­til the end.”

Hav­ing to re­build this sea­son and re­place a lot of holes may in fact be the Jaguars’ Achilles heel. With only one re­turn­ing start­ing pitcher in Justin Yac­kee, they hope to find sup­port from their young re­place­ments.

“At times this sea­son we will be start­ing eight fresh­men,” said Blue. “With only one re­turn­ing starter from last year it’s go­ing to be tough. We may be a year or so out of con­tention, but we are go­ing to play tough ball and hope­fully come out with a .500 sea­son.”

What they may lack in pitch­ing, they feel they can make up for it with other strengths.

“We hope our bats can come through and put some runs on the board, and (if) we get a de­cent show­ing from our pitch­ing staff that will hold them off,” said Blue.

First base­man Chad Turner agrees, tak­ing it a fur­ther step.

“We have good hit­ters, but we also have good chemis- try as a team,” said Turner. “I be­lieve if ev­ery­one stays healthy we can be in the top five in the re­gion.”

As the sea­son nears, the team hopes to be role mod­els for the com­mu­nity, and give the youth leagues some­thing to as­pire to be a part of.

“We have a brand new, nice fa­cil­ity and a great atmo- sphere for the kids to come out with their fam­i­lies to watch,” said Blue.

While the Jaguars try to gather as much fan sup­port, Blue feels this should also be a great op­por­tu­nity to re­cruit.

“I have lived in this area for a while and know the tal­ent,” said Blue. “We want any­one who can play at this level here.”

BLUE

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