GCA Cougars baseball wins first Region title in program history
Published 9:07 am Wednesday, March 29, 2023
For the first time in program history, the Grace Christian Academy Cougars baseball team is bringing home a Region Championship Trophy as a win over Fullington Academy clinched a Region Title for the GCA baseball program. Not only is a Region Title impressive in any magnitude, but for Head Coach Ryan Riles being able to develop the team in just one year speaks volumes as to how much impact Riles has had on the program.
“I am incredibly proud of these boys and their coaches for their hard work and success this season,” said headmaster Sean Johnson. “Coach Riles has done an incredible job of building this program, and with the help of Assistant Coach Peyton Dixon they are working to develop not only success on the field, but strong Christian men off the field as well. It is exciting for our entire school to watch these young men achieve a region title, and we are excited to see what the rest of this season and the next few years hold for such a young team.”
This season saw the Cougars go from 0-7 in 2022 to a 9-4 record, going a perfect 4-0 in Region play. After starting the season 1-2, the Cougars began to find their stride as they went 8-2 in the past 10 games. In those eight wins, the Cougars scored over ten runs in six of their wins, with their most impressive coming on March 2 in a 29-0 blowout of Crisp Academy.
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In their past two wins not only have the Cougars bats come to work, but their pitching has been a consistent force in their 2023 success. In their game on March 30 against Crisp Academy, Oathen Atkinson took the mound and made quick work of the opposing hitters as he pitched three innings, allowing just one hit and one run while striking out five batters.
On the offensive side of the ball, catcher Graham Beckham was a spark for the Cougars offense as he went two for two at the plate, driving in four RBI’s on the day to lead the team. Hines Roberts also had a productive day at the plate as he drove in two runs as the Cougars offense helped propel them to a 16-1 victory over Crisp Academy.
In their most recent Region clinching victory against Fullington Academy, a seventh run fourth inning cracked the game wide open for the Cougars as they scored over 10 runs for the sixth time this season.
Taking the mound against Fullington was Keith Eidson who has been strong on the mound all season long. Eidson was once again impressive on the mound as he struck out eight batters and only allowed two runs on two hits over five innings.
On the offensive side of the ball, Hines Roberts, Hayden Cohen, Keith Eidson and Oathen Atkinson all moved runners across the plate with RBIs in the fourth inning as a seven run outburst helped lift the Cougars to a 12-2 win, to clinch the first baseball Region Championship in Grace Christian Academy school history.
Not only have the Cougars made noise in their Region in 2023 with an undefeated Region record as of late, but the Cougars have also earned state recognition as they are currently ranked fifth in the state in the GIAA A High School Baseball rankings and will most likely climb in the rankings when they update on Thursday.
Despite the Cougars clinching a Region Title, their 2023 season is far from over. The Cougars still have six games left in their regular season before playoffs as their next four games will come on the road. The Cougars will wrap up the 2023 regular season at home as they will take on Crisp Academy at home on April 11 and Aucilla Christian at home on April 13.