MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – Riding the strength of a trip to the 2010 Division II College World Series, the Georgia College baseball program and head coach Tom Carty have signed 11 high school student-athletes, who will join the Bobcats for the 2012 season.
All 11 ballplayers come from the Peach State, giving the Bobcats a decidedly local feel for the future.
“This recruiting class is by far the largest and best early sign class in my six years here,” said Carty. “(Assistant Coach Zeke) Mitchem and the rest of the staff really worked hard since the summer putting this class together. We needed to bring in more pitching depth especially in the freshmen class and we accomplished this goal. We addressed our depth of left handed pitching as well while bringing in more athletic position players in this freshmen class.
“We look forward to all these fine young men coming to Georgia College next fall and continuing the success of the GC Baseball program. Coach Mitchem not only addressed our on the field needs but identified 14 young men who fit our academic mission at Georgia College. I’m excited about the 2011 season but with this class I am equally excited about the future of Bobcat Baseball.”
Clay Ardeeser is a 6-foot-4 pitcher and first baseman from Grayson High, joining recent Bobcats Jayson Bennett and Brett George as Grayson products. Ardeeser was a first team All-Region player in 2010 and named to the All-County first team by the Gwinnett Dugout Club after hitting .459 with four home runs and also pitching 53 innings with a 2.38 ERA and five wins. The righthander played this summer with the Big Stix program with fellow GC recruit John Clark.
Carty Comments – “Clay has the chance to be contributor at the plate and on the mound. He is a strong, physical presence on the mound and in the batter’s box as a much needed left handed hitter for 2012.”
Infielder Seth Bancroft comes from North Gwinnett High, where he was an All-County and All-Region selection in 2010. Current Bobcats Travis Echols and Jim Moreland as well as former GC great Matt Howard are all North Gwinnett alumnus. Bancroft made the Georgia Top 100 in both 2009 and 2010, hitting .300 with 21 RBI, and six doubles as a senior.
Carty Comments – “Seth is a very athletic infielder who fits our offensive plan. He comes from a good high school program. He brings foot speed offensively and defensively which only increase our team speed.”
Lefthander John Clark, joins the pitching staff from Duluth High. He tossed 54 innings for Duluth, striking out 36 with a 4.77 ERA. He was a summer teammate of fellow Bobcat recruit Clay Ardeeser.
Carty Comments – “John brings a very polished approach to pitching for a rising senior in high school. I expect him to have a big year for Duluth and be able to come in next Fall and compete for innings as a true freshman. He is continuing to get stronger and has pretty good command of three pitches.”
Sizeable catcher David Collins comes in at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds out of South Cobb High. An All-County and All-Region pick 2010, he led South Cobb in RBI and extra-base hits while also pitching at a 1.24 ERA and going 6-1. David’s father is baseball alum Mark Collins who played at GC for GC Hall of Fame Coach John Kurtz. In addition, David’s mom Janice is also a GC alumnus and former gymnast.
Carty Comments – “David fits our profile for a high school catcher. He is big and strong, shows athletic ability and an added bonus he switch hits. He is a tough kid who will come in and compete right away for catching time. We feel this has been a position our program as done a great job recruiting in the past few years and David will be another in a long line of successful Georgia College catchers.”
Lefty pitcher Taylor Hall is out of Alpharetta High, and really came on with some solid summer play for the 643 DP program. He pitched 60 innings, striking out 51 and allowing opponents to hit just .217 while compiling a 2.36 ERA. On that summer squad, he was a teammate of fellow GC recruit Wade Marcy.
Carty Comments – “We saw Taylor a few times this summer and really liked the way he was developing. He has a good feel for pitching and maybe one of the best change-ups I saw from a high school pitcher this past year. He will add more left handed pitching depth to the 2012 Bobcats.”
Also taking to the left side of the hill will be Alex Joplin, a 6-foot-3 211-pound product of North Forsyth High. Joplin went 4-2 with a 2.23 ERA after pitching 44 innings for North Forsyth last season. He walked just 18, struck out 40 and earned his team’s Most Valuable Pitcher award while also earning First Team All-County and All-Region honors in 2010.
Carty Comments – “Alex is a big strong high school left handed pitcher who will hopefully follow in the mold of Brandon Durden and Matt Goyen who were also big strong lefties out of high school who developed here at GC. Alex attacks hitters and I’m looking forward to working with him next Fall.”
Billy Kilmer is a 6-foot-2 lefty from Richmond Hill High. A back-to-back All-Region selection in 2009 and 2010, last season he pitched 49 1/3 innings going 4-2 and allowing only 48 hits while striking out 66 with a 2.27 ERA.
Carty Comments – “Billy is another high school left hander we felt could come in and contribute right away. He has a good fastball and a plus slider for a high school pitcher. We look forward to him continuing to improve this year at Richmond Hill and working with him next Fall to only get better.”
Pitcher and infielder Wade Marcy comes to GC from North Cobb High, joining current Bobcat outfielder Patrick Daugherty as North Cobb graduates. A 2009 and 2010 Georgia Dugout Club Top-100 player, Marcy played joined recruit Taylor Hall on the roster for 643 DP this summer. Marcy threw 41 1/3 innings and struck out 42 while going 4-1 with a 3.05 ERA. He also hit .287 and drove in 11 runs last season.
Carty Comments – “I’m excited about Wade coming into our program as a right handed pitcher with good arm strength. He and fellow signee Morgan Ownbey give us two very aggressive, attack-hitters type arms in our program. Wade will have a chance to compete for innings right away on the mound.”
Morgan Ownbey comes to Bobcat country from Collins Hill High, where recent graduate Ryan Tabor spent his high school days. Ownbey owns the distinction as the first Junior Team Georgia player to come to Georgia College out of high school. The rightander was named All-County and All-Region in both 2009 and 2010, Throwing 46 2/3 innings while going 7-1, and striking out 58 with a 4.20 ERA. Ownbey also contributed with the bat, hitting .330 with six home runs. He is ranked by Perfect Game as the 35th Best Prospect in the State of Georgia for the 2011 class.
Carty Comments – “Morgan is another strong-armed right handed pitcher who goes after hitters. He has great confidence on the mound and not afraid of pitching in the moment. I look forward to his arrival on campus next Fall and helping him develop into a front line pitcher for GC in the future.”
The lone outfielder on the list is Derek Penna of George Walton Academy. Penna was listed First Team All-State and All-Region in 2010 winning the Silver Slugger Award for highest batting average at GWA. Current Bobcat Tripp Sheppard is also a GWA graduate. Penna hit .470 with 10 doubles and three triples while showing a great eye, drawing 30 walks.
Carty Comments – “Derek is a left-handed hitting outfielder who our coaching staff loved his aggressive approach to hitting. He runs well and will fit a need for the GC outfield in the future.”
Infielder Jake Sandlin joins a pair of former All-Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Bobcats from Greenbrier High in Michael Newman and Brooks Robinson. Sandlin hit .402 with a .530 on-base percentage while driving in 20, earning All-County honors in 2010.
Carty Comments – “Jake has good actions in the infield and will bring another left-handed bat into our freshman class. He is versatile in the infield having the ability to play all three infield positions. He comes from a winning high school program and we are excited to have Jake along with fellow signee, Seth Bancroft, joining our infield next Fall.”
The 2011 campaign begins Feb. 4 at 3 p.m., when the Bobcats start the season at the University of Tampa, a fellow 2010 NCAA Division II World Series participant.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, back-to-back winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/GCSUBobcats and www.facebook.com/GCBobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.