GSC Baseball Anxious To Start 2021 Season

It has been nearly 11 months since the Gordon State College baseball team played a game – March 10, 2020 to be exact – due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this year’s edition of the Highlanders is anxious to get back on the diamond.

Last year, GSC got off to a slow start and stood at 6-5 on February 22. But the Highlanders reeled off 10 straight wins and were playing as well as any team in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in the early spring of 2020.

But a doubleheader sweep of the Oglethorpe University junior varsity on March 10 would be the last time GSC hit the field as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation and all college sports came to an abrupt halt.

Now the 2021 Highlanders are ready to put all that in their rear view mirror with a fresh start to what they hope will be a successful season under first-year head coach Kent Rollins, who comes to GSC from Murray State University (Ky.).

“These guys have been put through a whirlwind these past 10 months,” said Rollins, who finished his college baseball career at Georgia Southern University. “From having their season cut short while riding a 10-game winning streak to experiencing a coaching change at the beginning of the fall semester, these guys have faced a bunch of adversity.”

GSC brings back a solid nucleus of talent in 2021 as many starters returned this spring after having their 2020 season cut short after 21 games.

Sophomore outfielder Cole Phillips is back after hitting .380 with 30 hits (include five home runs and nine doubles) while driving in 21. The Kennesaw State commit also hit .345 with 13 homers and 56 RBI in GSC’s 50-9 campaign in 2019.

Sophomore outfielder Derek Wylie, a Columbus State commit, hit .338 in the abbreviated 2020 campaign while connecting for six home runs and 29 RBI.

GSC will also look to returnees Sam Kuchinksi (.320 avg., 2 HR, 11 RBI), Hunter Marion (.313 avg., 1 HR, 9 RBI), Noah Dawkins (.382 avg., 4 RBI) and Adam Alicea-Brooks (.250 avg., 1 HR, 9 RBI) to spearhead the Highlanders’ attack.

GSC will also rely on freshman catcher Trevor Knowles, sophomore catcher Coleman Tanner, sophomore infielder Ethan Scott and redshirt freshman infielder Clifton Olmstead to challenge for the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA Region 17) title in ’21.

On the mound, sophomore left-hander Dom Canale returns for GSC. Canale, who has committed to Augusta University for 2022, posted a 2.33 earned-run average in 2020 while striking out 19 in 27 innings of work last season.

GSC will look to freshman Thomas Ross (21 IP, 7 ER, 27 K, 3.00 ERA), redshirt freshman Jaxon O’Neal (16 IP, 1 ER, 26 K, 0.56 ERA) and sophomore Trey Felt (7.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 K, 3.68 ERA) for strength on the pitching staff during a season that will feature a lot of doubleheaders.

Ross has committed to Georgia Southern while O’Neal is a Mercer commit.

Freshman Davis Swenson (20 IP, 4 ER, 23 K, 1.80 ERA) also returns to the pitching staff after originally transferring to the University of Pittsburgh.

The Highlanders will feature newcomers Blaze O’Saben (transfer from Maryland-Baltimore County), Ramsey David (transfer from Auburn), Will McCrum (transfer from Delaware), Devin Keen (transfer from Georgia State), freshman DJ Banks (Marietta, Ga. / McEachern HS), freshman Brooks Gorman (Macon, Ga. / Tattnall Square Academy) and freshman Garrett Dowell (Comer, Ga. / Madison County HS).

“I’m excited to finally get these guys out on the field to compete against somebody not in Gordon State apparel,” said Rollins, who also coached at Georgia College. “It’s been a long time coming and I can’t wait to watch these guys compete.”

GSC will open the 2021 season on Tuesday, February 2 at Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City, Ala. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.

The Gordon State College Department of Athletics is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA). Gordon State College competes in NJCAA Division I in the sports of Women’s Soccer (Fall), Men’s Basketball (Fall/Spring), Softball (Spring) and Baseball (Spring). Gordon State College is located in Barnesville, Ga., approximately 60 miles south of Atlanta and 35 miles northwest of Macon. Gordon State College offers both two-year and four-year degree programs and believes that our Athletics program provides student-athletes with the opportunity to be successful academically, athletically and in life after their time as a Highlander.  Follow GSC Athletics at, on Facebook (@GordonStateCollege #GSCHighlandersForward), on Twitter (@GordonState) and Instagram (gordon_state).