Georgia Regents University’s new head baseball coach had a challenging first season. The Jags finished the season 19-31 overall and 11-20 in the Peach Belt Conference. Jason Eller, who came in after a lengthy stint as an assistant coach at the University of Georgia, knew a couple of things when he was announced as GRU’s new coach. First, this was not going to be a one year turnaround. Secondly, he better spend plenty of time recruiting the local area.
Well, it appears that Eller is beginning to stockpile local players. The Jags return junior LHP Phillip Dukes of Grovetown and junior third baseman Hunter Boose (Greenbrier). Boose hit .324 last season and led the team with 5 HR and 29 RBI.
They also have a trio of other area products in Nate Crown (senior/ East Georgia), Bryson Stack (senior/ Cross Creek), and Trey McAvoy (junior/ Washington-Wilkes). Eller, however, has already more than doubled the number of local players that will suit up for the Jags next season.
GRU will have at least two more Columbia County players with the addition of Evans LHP David Rivera.
The incoming freshman was 5-1 on the mound for the Knights and earned 1st Team All-Region and All-County Honors in 2014. Eller’s squad should get an immediate boost from sophomore transfer Clint Hardy. Hardy was a star for Greenbrier during his prep days and turned in a solid freshman campaign for Division I Western Kentucky this season. The 6-2, 190-pound Inf./OF has the potential to be an All-PBAC caliber player.
In addition to the Columbia County duo, Eller is also bringing in former Thomson Star Nick Rau.
Rau’s father, Carl, was a standout at Evans and played for Augusta College as well.
Rau is a 6-3, 200-pound infielder who is transferring in from East Georgia. He also has speedy outfielder Blue Sanderson (South Aiken) coming in from Spartanburg Methodist and RHP David Hagelston (6-3, 190 lb.) is an incoming freshman from Westside HS.
And, this may be just the beginning.
There are a few other local products, including a couple from Columbia County, that will likely be wearing a GRU uniform next year, but as of press time those deals were not finalized.