March 26, 2009

Bobcat Baseball to Honor 1969 Team This Weekend

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - The 2009 Georgia College & State University baseball season is a special one for head coach Tom Carty, not just for owning first place in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) standings and an impressive No. 9 Collegiate Baseball Magazine National Ranking for the Bobcats, but because it marks the 40th anniversary of baseball at Georgia College, and the same birthday for athletics at GC.

According to the Colonnade, the Georgia College nine, led by the program's first coach and the department's first Athletic Director Floyd V. Anderson, played a "modest schedule", beginning with an 8-2 loss April 1, 1969. Jimmy Wildman had two hits, while he and Mike Bryans did the pitching as the Colonials fell to Newberry College. GC played its home games on Boddie Field, near Baldwin High School.

Next came a 6-1 loss to Georgia Military College. Bill Fogarty had a pair of hits and scored the team's lone run. The Colonials then traveled to Rome, Ga. April 12 and were promptly blanked by Shorter College 5-0. After an April 14th rainout with Mercer, GC would crack the win column against Georgia Southwestern April 22 in exciting fashion.

Sammy Jones had an RBI hit in the bottom of the eighth for a go-ahead run, giving the Colonials a 12-11 win. Bryans was on the hill for the first win in program history. The Bobcats then toppled Augusta College, getting 13 runs on 14 hits for the 13-7 win. Colonial pitchers shut out the AC batters for the final five innings.

The Colonials lost to DeKalb College 10-4 and also were beaten by Shorter 10-8 despite a grand-slam by Wildman. The bases-clearing round tripper is the first recorded home run in program history.

Georgia College wrapped up the 1969 season with an 8-7 loss to Augusta, getting a two-run home run from Jerry Seymour and a triple from Dicky Erwin. In the ninth, Jones ripped a shot past the centerfielder with two outs, coming around to score, but the umpired ruled Jones out for missing first base and ended the game. The Colonnade records the Colonials as picking up three wins in Georgia College's first season of baseball.  

These Colonials laid the groundwork for what has become one of the best NCAA Division II programs in the southeast, winning two PBC Titles and making seven trips to the NCAA Tournament, including a runner-up finish in 1995. The Colonials competed in the NAIA until 1992, when they joined the PBC and NCAA Division II Ranks.

During the NAIA years, the Colonials hauled in four NAIA District 25 titles, two NAIA Area 5 Championships and a pair of NAIA World Series berths (1984 and 1985). The current Bobcats lead the Peach Belt Conference at 8-4 and are 21-8 overall. The program as a whole has produced 27 All-Americans.

The 40th Anniversary Team will be honored with special celebrations this weekend. All but one member of the original team and head coach Anderson will attend Saturday's event. Weather permitting, the team will have a barbecue at John Kurtz Field Saturday at 12:30 p.m. with the current team taking on Lander University set to follow at 3 p.m. For the game, Anderson will throw out the first pitch and all of the members of the 1969 team will be honored on the field prior to the start with brief bio information read over the public address. If weather cancels the game, the cookout will be moved to the Centennial Center.

Visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame. The GCSU Department of Athletics sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, GCSU prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports.