The Jaguars begin the 2015 season as defending GCAA champions.
A third place finish in the Division I NJCAA tournament (East CentralRegion) capped 2014.
Past accolades mean nothing this year to manager, Jeremy Brotherton as GPC looks to continue its success in 2015.
“It’s too early to even think about national championships,” said Brotherton. “Obviously our goal every year is to get to Colorado and have the opportunity to compete for a national title. There are so many variables that play into getting to Grand Junction (Colo.). ”
The team is replacing 31 of the 40 previously active players this year, losing their most valuable players to graduation and Major League Baseball (MLB).
Two All-American players, pitcher Dustin Beggs and shortstop J.T. Phillips, were drafted last year.
Beggs was selected by St. Louis Cardinals in the 17th round.
He enrolled to play for the University of Kentucky before joining the Cardinals.
Phillips who batted .419 with 50 RBIs was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 18th round.
“Those two guys were special players,” said Brotherton. “Any time you have to replace two All-Americans, it’s tough. Hopefully the newcomers can find a way to fill Beggs’ and Phillips’ shoes.”
However, the Blake Cairnes (#16) led pitching rotation is the best Brotherton has seen in his three years at GPC.
Other notable pitchers are two-time All-Newnan honoree Robert Massenberg (#18) and four-time Alcovy High School baseball letter man, Dalton Reagin.
The 2015 edition Jaguars will be the final team that plays for the school after GPC interim president Rob Watts announced the athletic department will be dismantled following the spring semester.
“I told them, ‘In life things are not fair, and this is an example of that.’ I expect them to come out and play hard everyday, ” said Brotherton.
The coaches also will be held to high standards this season, as they too are preparing for the next chapter of their lives after the season’s conclusion.
“Our job as coaches is to teach these guys as much about the game as possible so the next place they move on to is a little easier,” said Brotherton. “These guys know what is expected of them: play hard, and do the right thing. They will represent GPC in the right manner.”
GPC starts the year ranked eighth in the NJCAA national preseason poll and voted to finish second in the East Central region.
GPC is looking to swing big and hit hard, so they can end Jaguar baseball with a blaze of glory.