Carrollton, GA – As the calendar approaches February and the beginning of the college baseball season, the Golden Knights are excited about the approaching 2019 campaign. While the announcement that athletics at West Georgia Tech are being discontinued at the end of this academic year will make this season somewhat bittersweet, head coach Beau Welborn has high expectations for the season. "We have expectations to compete in our conference and go out on a high note," shared Welborn. "We are looking forward to getting started.
This year's squad is completely revamped. Only 5 position players and 2 pitchers return from last year's 18-36 team. Two of the top returners are Jacob Warren (Powder Springs – Hillgrove High) and Justin Guyton (Acworth – Allatoona High.) Warren, a catcher and designated hitter was named 2nd Team All-Conference last spring after hitting .292 while leading the Knights in homeruns (7), doubles (10), and RBI (33.) A second baseman, Guyton was a Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) Gold Glove recipient. He committed just 5 errors in 211 chances and also handled the bat well, hitting .282 with 8 doubles, a homerun, and 23 RBI while scoring a team-leading 36 runs.
Other returning position players for the Knights are infielder Trey Gomillion (Grovetown – Grovetown High) and outfielders Jaelyn Brooks (Monroe – Monroe Area High) and Chris Sims (Lithonia – Arabia Mountain High.) The trio will be looking to make a bigger contribution this spring after seeing limited action in 2018.
Just a pair of pitchers are returning from last year's staff, Zack Gaines and Carson Fowler. A left-hander, Gaines (Carrollton – Central High) was among team leaders with 13 appearances in 2018, including 2 starts. He notched 2 saves and showed continued improvement over the course of the season. Fowler (Canton – Cherokee High) led all pitchers with 17 appearances. The right-hander posted a 3-3 record including 2 saves.
A slew of newcomers has Welborn looking forward to the upcoming season. "We pretty much are a different looking team," said the 3rd year coach. That may be an understatement. There are 27 new players on the 34 man roster. "I am excited to be working with this group and the challenge of the upcoming schedule."
That schedule begins Friday, when the Knights travel to Niceville for a 3-game set with Northwest Florida State. Also on the February calendar are non-conference match-ups with the LaGrange College junior varsity, Chattanooga State, Vincennes University, Central Alabama, Southern Union, and Wallace Community College-Dothan.
March kicks-off the always difficult GCAA schedule. The 56-game regular season comes to an end May 4. The home-opener is set for Saturday, February 9 with a double-header against Vincennes. First pitch is set for 1 pm. The series concludes with a single game Sunday at 12 pm. Home games are played at Central High School in Carrollton.