Gaston College’s new baseball team wrapped up its first season May 3, ending on a very high note.
According to the college’s marketing department, the Rhinos’ inaugural season was filled with highlights, including earning the Region 10 West Championship and placing in national rankings. Tuesday’s win capped off things successfully. The Rhinos’ final record for their first season was an impressive 41-nine overall. The Rhinos clinched the Region 10 West Championship at home on April 20, following a doubleheader win against Cleveland Community College. That same day, they also became the first baseball program in Region 10’s 73-year history to win 30 league games in a season.
In recognition of the championship season, Gaston College unveiled the team’s first championship banner prior to the start of Tuesday’s game at Sims Legion Park in Gastonia. The team started its season playing at CaroMont Health Park, while renovations at Sims Park, including the installation of a new turf field, were completed. The first game played at the new home field was held March 26.
The Rhinos’ success was recognized early on this year, when they were included in the week-two NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) poll rankings. They entered the poll ranking in 10th place but advanced up to the number-three spot, holding that position for three weeks, before dropping to ninth last week. They also held rankings as high as the number-two spot in two other national junior college polls during the season, according to Rhinos Head Coach Shohn Doty.
“I told the guys, 41-nine is special,” said Doty. “I’ve never been around anything like that. They set the standard for every team that’s going to come through here. To finish in the top 10 of the nation in our first year speaks for itself.”
Gaston College also recognized 10 sophomore players just before the May 1 game: first baseman Ahmir Cournier, third baseman Chandler Riley, catcher Patrick Hogan, infielder Logan Rose and pitchers Christian Baker, Alex Hall, Gus Hughes, Marlowe Iorio, Hayden Myrick and Zach Zedalis. Six of the 10 players have signed to play college baseball next season at Division I or II schools, as Doty revealed.
“I’m really proud of the sophomores and all that they’ve achieved,” he said. “We’ve played a great schedule, and these 10 guys helped make it all happen.”
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