Emerson, Ga – The 16th ranked Georgia Highlands College baseball team knocked of #2 seed South Georgia State Thursday afternoon at Lake Point 14-0, and in the process capturing the GCAA Region 17 Championship.
The Chargers took the NJCAA Region 17 Tournament going the winners bracket route, winning three straight to claim their second Region Championship. GHC trailed Gordon State 4-0 in the sixth inning of game one of the tournament when Zayd Brannigan was hit by a pitch to spark a rally. Following two more hit batsmen, Connor Todaro Drove Brannigan in with a single to right field to bring David Smith to the plate with the bases loaded. Down by three, Smith launched a go ahead grand slam over the right field wall and the Chargers never looked back. When the dust cleared, the Chargers had scored 10 runs in the frame and went on to win 13-11 in game one.
In game two the Chargers defeated South Georgia State 8-4, and when the Hawks eliminated ABAC in the loser's bracket it set the stage for a Georgia Highlands - South Georgia rematch for the championship.
On Championship Thursday, it was all GHC the whole way. Eric Moore held the Hawks scoreless through five innings and the Chargers used a 2 run third and a 3 run fifth to take command of the game. Cason Rich relieved Moore in the sixth inning and picked up where the big lefty left off, firing four scoreless innings to finish the game. The GHC offense would put up 8 more runs the rest of the way and the Chargers ran away with a 14-0 victory and the Region 17 title.
The win advances the Chargers to the NJCAA Div. I Baseball - Appalachian District Championship, where they will face the #1 ranked Walters State College (TN) in a best 2 out of 3 series in Morristown TN., with a single game played each day at 2:00 pm, beginning Tuesday, May 17. The winner of the Appalachian District receives a berth in the NJCAA College World Series in Grand Junction, CO, where ten of the best juco baseball teams in the nation, will battle to be crowned National Champion.