Sep 9, 2013
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech baseball begins its preparation for the 2014 season this week as fall practice opens for the Yellow Jackets.
Entering his 21st season on the Flats, head coach Danny Hall welcomes back seven starters (four position players, three pitchers) and 20 letterwinners from last year’s club that finished the year 37-27 overall, 15-15 in the ACC and reached the NCAA Tournament for the 27th time in the last 29 years.
The Jackets will practice four times per week over the next seven weeks, and included in the schedule is the team’s annual intrasquad White-Gold World Series. As opposed to a three-game series at the end of the fall, this year’s series will be a best-of-seven beginning Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 3:15 p.m.
All games of the White-Gold World Series will be played at Russ Chandler Stadium and admission is free. Please note that the schedule may change due to weather. Changes will be announced via the team’s Twitter account, @GT_Baseball.
White-Gold World Series schedule
Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 3:15 p.m.
Game 2: Thursday, Oct. 3 at 3:15 p.m.
Game 3: Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 3:15 p.m.
Game 4: Friday, Oct. 11 at TBA
Game 5: Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 3:15 p.m.
Game 6: Sunday, Oct. 20 at TBA
Game 7: Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 3:15 p.m.
Highly-Ranked Incoming Class
Georgia Tech’s 16-member freshmen class is ranked as the 11th-best incoming class nationally by Perfect Game. For Tech, it marks the fifth time in the past seven years that its incoming freshmen class has been ranked in the top 35 nationally.
Georgia Tech’s fall roster of 39 student-athletes includes 26 that are either freshmen or sophomores. The 2014 roster will include eight seniors and five juniors.
Heddinger Helps Peninsula To Coastal Plain League Championship
Junior RHP Josh Heddinger was the Game 1 starter for the Peninsula Pilots in their three-game Coastal Plain League championship series match-up versus the Columbia Blowfish. Heddinger was strong, allowing just one run on five hits with six strikeouts in 5.2 innings and turned a 3-1 lead over to the bullpen, only to see Columbia rally late to force extras, but Peninsula win 5-4 in the 10th. The Pilots claimed the title two days later with a 2-1 win.
Heddinger, who capped his sophomore season at Tech with a complete-game two-hit shutout of No. 2 Vanderbilt in the NCAA Regional, finished the summer with a 3.19 ERA and 3-1 record and three saves in 11 appearances (four starts). He allowed 31 hits with 34 strikeouts and 15 walks in 36.2 innings and opponents hit just .223 off the righty from Buford, Ga.
Smitty Named First Team All-Valley League
Hitting .289 on June 6, junior 2B Thomas Smith raised his summer batting average by more than 50 points over the final 16 games of the season for the Harrisonburg Turks of the Valley League and finished the year with the fourth-best batting average in the league of .341.
Smith was one of four Turks named first-team All-Valley League. He finished the summer with 10 doubles, two home runs and 23 RBIs and drew 22 walks.
Spingola Named All-NECBL
Junior OF Daniel Spingola, who played this past summer for the Danbury Westerners in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, was one of just two players in the NECBL to hit .325, collect 13 extra base hits and steal 15 bases. Spingola was named to the NECBL’s all-league second team. He and Tech teammate Alex Cruz each represented Danbury in the NECBL All-Star Game.
Georgia Tech’s Summer League All-Stars
Alaska Baseball League: Devin Stanton
Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League: Will Young
Coastal Plain League: Josh Heddinger
Florida Collegiate Summer League: Grant Wruble
New England Collegiate Baseball League: Alex Cruz & Daniel Spingola
Southeast Collegiate Prospect Showcase: Mitch Earnest
Palka, Evans Garner MiLB All-Star Nods
Former Yellow Jackets and 2013 All-Americans Daniel Palka and Zane Evans were each named to the 2013 Pioneer League All-Star Team.
Palka played first base for Missoula and hit .302 in 56 games with seven homers and 38 RBI before being promoted late in the summer. With Hillsboro, Palka played the final 12 games and hit .340 with a double, two triples, two homers and 10 RBI.
Evans caught for Idaho Falls and hit .352 in 41 games with 18 doubles, four homers and 31 RBI.
Incoming Jackets Claim Connie Mack World Series Title
Six members of Tech’s incoming freshmen class — Brandon Gold, Matthew Gorst, Connor Justus, Eric Knox, Matt Phillips and Tanner Shelton — were part of the East Cobb Yankees team that won the 2013 Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, N.M. The Yankees defeated the South California Renegades, 6-2, in the 18th game of the tournament.
One of the coaches for that Yankees’ team is Tech director of baseball operations, Nick Scherer.