Carrollton, GA – While it doesn't "feel" like baseball season, don't tell that to West Georgia Technical College's Beau Welborn. "Our goal is to win conference," says Welborn.
Welborn begins his second season at the helm but this time it is a little different than just a year ago. In December 2016, Welborn was named the interim head coach upon the departure of Todd Pratt, who resigned to accept a job with the Miami Marlins organization. After posting a 23-31 record last year, including a 9-15 mark in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA), the interim label was removed. With a year under his belt, the young coach is ready to get started. "Last season was a season of transition," stated Welborn. "This year, we have a lot of guys back and a lot of new guys that are going to help. The league will be even more competitive as the tournament has been reduced to just four teams. Not many people are giving us a chance so hopefully that will provide us a little extra motivation. We are going to work hard."
Back from last season is the team's leading hitter, Tony Matos (Winder-Winder-Barrow.) The sophomore infielder led the club with a .300 average, including 9 doubles, 5 triples, and 2 homeruns to go along with 20 RBI. Also back is Newnan native Reagan Thomas. The catcher out of East Coweta posted a .281 average and 18 RBI. Infielders Jacob Earley (Douglasville-Alexander) and Brody Chester (Dawsonville-Dawson Co.) return and will help anchor a veteran infield.
Returning on the mound for the Golden Knights are Cullen Monette (Alpharetta-King's Ridge) and Austin Smith (Ball Ground-Creekview.) Monette, a 6-5 right-hander, appeared in 9 games and posted a 4.92 ERA. Smith saw more action out of the bullpen last season. The right-hander converted his only save opportunity.
These returning veterans, along with a number of incoming freshmen and transfers, give Welborn cause for optimism. "We are expecting major contributions from these incoming players," said Welborn. "Several are going to compete for starting spots and it will interesting to see how we progress as we approach conference play."
The Knights play a challenging non-conference schedule to go along with the always difficult GCAA slate. That GCAA schedule begins in early March, so this first month will give Welborn time to figure out all the pieces.
All home games are played at Central High School in Carrollton. To keep up with the Golden Knights, go to www.wgtcathletics.com or follow on Twitter @wgtcathletics.