Columbia County’s established baseball players and up-and-comers got a chance to display their skills at Georgia Gwinnett College from June 23 to June 26.
Four Greenbrier High School players: Adam Sasser, Nick Sandlin, Connor Hogan and Garrett Marchman, along with Evans’ Colin Dominy and Lakeside’s Jake Gilbert, participated in the 11th iteration of the Georgia Dugout Club’s Georgia Underclassmen Top 100 Showcase.
The showcase event put 100 rising seniors and 60 rising juniors and sophomores in front of college recruiters and professional scouts, performing defensive drills, taking batting practice then participating in a game against a squad of selectees from Alabama or Georgia.
The Wolfpack pitching duo of rising junior Connor Hogan and senior Nick Sandlin, who combined for 22 of Greenbrier’s 26 wins in 2014, were up first facing Alabama on June 24.
The experience for Hogan was different than when he appeared in the event a year ago.
“Last year it was my freshman summer, I was a little nervous,” said Hogan, who added that there were about 80 scouts in the stands during his time on the mound. “This year I was more relaxed and went out there and did my thing, I guess.”
Each pitcher just got a chance to face five batters and Hogan thought he did well.
“I struck out two and got three ground ball outs, so that was pretty good,” Hogan said.
Sandlin’s 2013 resume was pretty impressive by itself, going 13-0 with a 1.44 earned-run-average and 94 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings of work. He had a rain delay during his five batters, but thought what he set out to do was accomplished.
“It was mostly to get college looks, so other coaches can see you,” Sandlin said.
On June 25, it was Dominy and Gilbert’s turn, facing another squad from Georgia.
Dominy, the Knights’ senior outfielder who batted .329 in 2014, was a repeat attendee and like Hogan was happy to see more scouts in the stands. Especially with the way he performed.
“I threw 91 from the outfield, stole a base, threw a guy out at third and hit a double,” Dominy said. “Hopefully I’ll get calls from colleges and hopefully I’ll get offers and I’ll know what college I’m going to by next year,” he said.
Gilbert’s pitching experience was a positive one.
“I made the most of my five batters,” he said. “I did pretty good. I struck out one, I gave up one hit, but other than that, the rest were outs. It was really fun.”
He got the feeling that others were impressed.
“I think they thought I did pretty good,” said Gilbert. “I have a lot of room to grow and improve as big as I am – 6-foot-8. I’m feeling more comfortable out there.”
On June 26, it was Marchman and Sasser’s turn.
Marchman, a sophomore who hopes to step into the third base position vacated by the graduation of his brother Knox, did well against pitchers who were throwing in the 90s and enjoyed himself.
“I saw some really good pitching,” said Marchman, adding that he went 2 for 3 with two singles up the middle.
He already had a connection with those running the team.
“My coach was one of the East Georgia coaches that Knox will be playing for next year,” Marchman said. “That’s pretty neat.”
Sasser was a little bit of everything for the Wolfpack in 2014. He batted .389 with 12 doubles and seven home runs while making 10 pitching appearances and won four games. During his day he hit the scoreboard in batting practice and took a turn on the mound as well.
“Swinging at the plate-wise, I think I did well, said Sasser who called himself a utility guy. “Overall I think I had a pretty good day.”