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YHC baseball defeats Indiana University of Pennsylvania

March 5, 2011 Comments off

By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor

Yesterday, the Young Harris College baseball team defeated Indiana University of Pennsylvania 19-4 in the first game of the Chad Gassman Classic.

The Chad Gassman Classic is a weekend series at Zell B. Miller Field that hosts YHC, IUP and Waldorf College. YHC is competing in the series in its first year as a four-year institution.

Freshman Adam Moore started on the mound for YHC. Moore (3-2) threw for five innings giving up four runs and four hits. Moore earned seven strikeouts while giving up three walks. Freshman Oliver Pratt gave up one hit in his two innings of relief to finish out the game for YHC.

Chris Douglas (1-1) started on the mound for the Crimson Hawks, giving up ten runs in just over two innings.

The Mountain Lions were led by the bats of freshman Jack Morrow, sophomore Zach Bricknell and freshman Ryan LaRose. Morrow struck for three hits on the day while Bricknell and LaRose each had two.

In the first inning, YHC (10-9) jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Crimson Hawks. The first Mountain Lions run was scored when Morrow knocked in Bricknell with a base hit. Freshman David Atwood would also score in the inning. Atwood’s run was followed by scoring of YHC base runners Rudnik and Moore.

IUP (2-3) answered by battling back in the top of the second inning with a four-run rally of their own when senior Frank Sirolli drove in three runs by delivering a two-out triple. At the end of two innings, the game was tied at four.

YHC busted the game wide open with a six-run rally in the bottom of the third inning to give the Mountain Lions a 10-4 lead.

The Mountain Lions used this same momentum to jump out to a 16-4 lead in the fourth inning thanks to another six-run rally.

YHC sealed the victory by scoring three runs in the sixth inning to give them a 19-4 lead. The score would cause the game to end in seven innings, resulting in a win for the Mountain Lions.

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Baseball sees a new ball game

February 25, 2011 Comments off

By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor

Members of the 2011 YHC men's baseball team features one of the youngest rosters in the nation. Photo by Leila Shearon

The Young Harris College baseball team has recently started their 2011 season.

The Mountain Lions will play this season with one of the youngest rosters in the nation, which contains no juniors or seniors. The YHC game plan will also consists of an entirely new starting line-up, with no returning starters from last year’s team.

YHC Head Coach Rick Robinson has an optimistic outlook on beginning the season.

“I am very excited about getting the season started,” said Robinson. “Even though the weather has been terrible the last couple of weeks,  we have been able to get on the field more than in years past, and I feel that we are ready to play. Now, we are at the point where we need to play an outside opponent to determine where our practices need to focus in order to continue to improve.”

The 2011 season will also be the first in which the Mountain Lions will enter play as a four-year institution.

“This is an exciting time in the history of Young Harris College, and it is the baseball programs turn to play a role in the excitement here on campus,” said Robinson.

To begin the season, Robinson plans to start eight freshmen in the Mountain Lions line-up.

“As a coach, when you start eight freshmen both offensively and defensively, you hope they will be able perform the basics and give great effort,” said Robinson. “Defensively, we must be able to catch the ball when it is hit to us and throw the ball to our partner. On the mound, we must focus on throwing strikes and staying ahead in the count. Offensively, we have to figure out ways to put the ball in play.”

In the field, freshman business & public policy major Jack Morrow of Carneys Point, NJ will take over behind the plate as starting catcher for the Mountain Lions.

At first base, Coach Robinson has chosen to split time between freshman Adam Moore of Kennesaw and freshman Brady McCarter of Blairsville. The coaching staff expects for Moore to contribute in the field as well as on the mound this season. McCarter is a former pitcher who has made the switch for 1st base in a move that coaches feel will benefit the Mountain Lions.

The middle infield will consist of freshman Mike Medori of Newark, DE at second base and freshman Tommy Ferguson of Cumming at shortstop.

The hot corner of the infield will be held down by freshman third baseman Evan Carr of Marietta.

The YHC outfield will contain a number of experienced players, as well as a handful of new players as freshmen David Atwood and Trey Rogers join sophomores Josh Rudnik and Zack Bricknell in the deep portions of the field.

Freshman pitcher James Mills practices his fielding in an early-season exercise. Photo by Leila Shearon

Starting on the mound for YHC will be freshmen pitchers Adam Moore, Travis Donahoo, Taylor Topping and Tyler Isbell. Joining the staff of freshmen will be right-handed sophomore Josh Rudnik, who is expected to anchor the young Mountain Lions staff.

The relief pitching core for YHC consist of freshmen relievers Brice Merritt, Oliver Pratt, Nick Galvin, Nick Boutwell, Billy Demersky, Blake Fortune and James Mills. Red-shirt freshman Clint Ogle and red-shirt sophomore Sean Kelly will also bring experience to the bullpen. Kelley was voted team captain and will return to the mound this season looking to bounce back from an offseason shoulder injury.

The Mountain Lions opened the 2011 season on the road against the University of Montavello. YHC began the series against Montavello with a 14-10 loss to the Falcons. The Mountain Lions went on to drop the next two games to complete the series sweep for Montavello.

YHC won their first game of the season on Feb. 11 in a road match-up with Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, NC. The Mountain Lions fought for the win as the game went in to extra innings, resulting in an 8-6 win for YHC in the 11th inning.

YHC will take on Mars Hill College at Zell B. Miller Field on Feb. 22, as the Mountain Lions continue through a stretch of 17 consecutive home games.

Burch in the paint pt. 1

February 23, 2011 Comments off

By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor

Enotah Echoes Sports Editor Ethan Burch joined the men's basketball team in early January. Burch was a four-year player at Towns County High School in Hiawassee. Photo by Ashton Jones

As a senior shooting guard for my hometown high school basketball team, I enjoyed playing for a team in front of my friends and family. I played at local Towns County High School, and the Indians were never really known as a Georgia basketball powerhouse. I recall my last game – a region tournament game against Lakeview Academy where my 16 points and defensive play earned me Player of the Game honors in a losing effort. So far as I knew, this was the last basketball game of my very young career. In short, if someone would have asked me a year ago today if I had plans to play college basketball, my answer would have been a definitive “no way.”

It seems that nothing is set in stone.

As north Georgia was facing an unseasonable – and unreasonable – amount of snow and ice, I received an equally improbable call from Young Harris College men’s basketball coach Pete Herrmann about a roster spot. Having shifted my attention from student-athlete to student-reporter in college, the call was a surprise. Nonetheless, I found myself reporting to practice at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, January 7. On that day, I became a paper Mountain Lion — a sports reporter who doesn’t just write from the sidelines, but writes from the court.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to write about what it’s like to play college basketball by providing you with an inside look at the first men’s basketball team at YHC since the late 1960s. The idea for this article came from the book Paper Lion by George Plimpton. Plimpton was a writer for Sports Illustrated who, in 1963, decided that he would try out for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League as a backup quarterback in order to tell a story of what it is like to be a player in the NFL.

Consider these articles as a “behind the scenes” look at what goes into the making of a college athlete. This story is not being written to mimic the lives of college basketball players – or to suggest that anyone with “hoop dreams” can walk onto a court and compete. Instead, this is my way of showing respect to those who are able to balance the rigors of college athletics and college classes; that is, the true student-athletes. The following is the first entry of many in my quest to become a paper Mountain Lion.

Thursday, January 6

It is the morning after a game, and I am on an assignment to interview Young Harris College Men’s Basketball Head Coach Pete Herrmann. Keep in mind that Herrmann has coached at programs such as Navy and the University of Georgia. I enter the room and come face-to-face with a coach that has led NBA all-stars such as David Robinson.

The only thought in your mind is do not screw up and ask the right questions. What happens when, instead, he asks you a question that you think about as a child or a student-athlete in high school, but never thought to hear at this point in college?

The question, can you play for the team? My answer, anything you want. It was there that an interview that I was conducting for a career in broadcasting and journalism turned my role to college basketball player for the remainder of the season.

Of course I knew that playing in college would be no easy task. I had played from the time I was a child up until my senior year in high school, but never was I recruited to play at a higher level. However, a lack in depth on the Mountain Lions roster opened up a spot that Coach Herrmann chose to offer me.

So I did think about it. I thought about the large time commitment that I was making, but in the end I felt that it was an opportunity that I could not pass up. To play a sport that I love in college, to gain experience that would potentially help me down the road as a writer or broadcaster, and to play under a coach that has developed so many talented players were too many reasons to not pass on this.

This decision is one that was not only difficult for me, but for all college athletes. In many cases, college sports fans only see the athlete that plays on game day. Being a college athlete is much more than that, though.

The college athlete is on the road for nearly three days out of his or her week. For YHC basketball players, the trip usually begins at 1 in the afternoon and the bus returns at midnight. Where in this span do the players have time to work on school assignments? There is the dilemma that student-athletes face.

Though I did think of this time commitment that playing basketball would bring, I didn’t realize just how much work it would take to juggle all of the tasks until I joined the team. After I thought out the decision that every student athlete has to make, I informed Coach Herrmann and began practice the next day.

My feelings were still uneasy, though. The coaching staff was very courteous and highly appreciative, but how would the players respond to my joining the team? These guys had been battling all season to upset teams, fall in close losses, and come away with tight victories. I did not want them to think that I was simply waltzing in and expecting to be part of their team immediately.

As intimidating as it was to practice amongst the college’s best practice players, I stepped in and began to participate in the drills. In doing this, I noticed just how much work these guys had put in to their games. From lifting to individual workouts, the time that each player had spent practicing showed during these drills. As practice concluded, we made our way to the film room. These sessions are developed to help game plan for the upcoming opponent. Studying game film is yet another way that student-athletes must prepare themselves for competition.

After practice, I made my way out of the gym with thoughts of what I had just experienced fresh on my mind. I learned that day that playing college basketball was no simple act, and that my teammates are a great group of players. They came to YHC for the opportunity to win games under Coach Herrmann, and that was a goal that they were set on accomplishing.

The following day would feature a home match-up against Berry College. Not only that, it would be my first college basketball game. This would begin my run at college basketball. How would I fare against the Vikings in the Valley of Doom?

Burch in the paint, pt. 2

February 23, 2011 Comments off

By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor

Enotah Echoes Sports Editor Ethan Burch joined the men's basketball team in early January. Burch was a four-year player at Towns County High School in Hiawassee. Photo by Ashton Jones

It was game one for me— a match-up with Berry College at home in Young Harris College’s Valley of Doom. On that Saturday I would get my first glimpse into what college basketball was all about.

The day started with a shoot around that morning, in which the team would get loose by doing some drills in preparation for the game they would play later that evening. I had participated in practices such as these in high school, so all of this felt fairly normal. It was interesting, though, to see how college teams prepared for a game that was set to be played a few hours later; but  it was the game that I was anticipating most.

In just a few hours, I found myself making my way back through the halls and into the locker room to get ready for our game. This was a part that was new. How do college teams prepare for a game? What goes on in the locker room? How does a coach explain the game plan? While some of those answers are kept strictly between college coaches and their players, I can tell you that it is all about focus.

Coach Pete Herrmann wants one thing from every player that steps on the floor for him and his team, and that is focus. It is for this reason that he and his coaching staff work to be sure that each player knows his responsibility prior to game time and throughout the contest.

After each of our roles were explained and the game plan had been administered, we made our way to the court for pre-game warm ups.

The team went through some shooting drills and stretches to prepare for the game. Then when the buzzer sounded it was time to play the national anthem, announce the starting line-ups and get the game underway.

That game was an experience that I will not forget. I was a part of college basketball for the first time, and I saw the work that was put in by the coaching staff and each of my teammates. The never-quit attitude that I saw from every player on that court let me know just how competitive the game is at the college level.

We lost the game against Berry by a score of 83-70, but Coach Herrmann never told us to carry ourselves like we had lost the game. He made it a point that we carry ourselves the same whether we win or lose and to always hold our heads up.

It was advice such as this that the team would take in as we went through a stretch of losses on the road until we returned home on Jan. 29 to face Tennessee Temple University.

We would win over Tennessee Temple thanks to five Mountain Lions scoring in the double digits. Steve Viterbo led the team in scoring with 22. It was the defense, though, that Coach Herrmann praised the team most for in this winning effort.

After the game, Coach Herrmann was pleased with our team defense, and he was excited about the win at home. The team, however, was almost too exhausted to celebrate the victory.

The team was working hard and had finally reached the victory that they had been fighting for late in the season. This was a time for a stopping point, though. The season was far from over, and there were still games for us to play.

How would the team take this momentum into the final games of the season? Keep reading to find out.

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Women’s basketball drops final home contest

February 13, 2011 Comments off

By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor

The Young Harris College women’s basketball team was unable to stop King College in the second half as the Mountain Lions fell, 60-40, during Cancer Awareness Day on Saturday at the YHC Basketball Arena.

“That was an example of losing in a total effort,” said YHC women’s basketball head coach Brenda Paul.

LaDondra Johnson led YHC (8-13) with 12 points and 10 rebounds, which was her third double-double of the season. Nikki Winn and Lauren Smith chipped in with seven points each as the Mountain Lions finished at 32 percent from the field, hitting on 16 of their 49 attempts.

YHC raced out to a 20-9 lead with 4:42 remaining in the opening half and took a 29-21 advantage into the break.

King opened the second half with a 29-9 run to take a 50-36 lead with 4:54 remaining. Young Harris could not recover from the run made by King College in the final four minutes.

“They [King College’ stepped up in the second half, and we folded,” said Paul.

Ashley Deans led three Lady Tornado players in double figures with 14 points. Derika Mooney had 13 points and nine boards, while Brianna Kelley finished with 10 points as King (9-15) was 25-of-56 shooting for 45 percent.

The Mountain Lions take to the road in looks for the series sweep against Reinhardt University on Monday, February 14. Young Harris defeated the Lady Eagles, 77-55 in their previous match-up on January 17. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. in Waleksa.

Richt to speak at Blairsville Church

February 11, 2011 Comments off

By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor

The Glenda Gooch House has announced that University of Georgia Head Football Coach Mark Richt will speak at the First Baptist Church of Blairsville on February 18.

The Glenda Gooch House is a fully accommodated home located on Wallings Road, across from Union General Hospital. The house is designed for those who are hospitalized and their families that prefer to be near them as well. According to the organization’s web page, the Glenda Gooch House had accommodated 124 families as of November 28.

Known for his inspirational speaking, Coach Richt is scheduled to begin speaking at First Baptist Church of Blairsville at 12:35 p.m.

Tickets to the event will be sold to adults for the price of $20. Students and youth who are the age of 6-17 will receive a discount putting the ticket cost at $10. All proceeds of the event will benefit the Glenda Gooch House

One requirement for persons under the age of 16 is that he or she must be accompanied by a parent or adult to and from the event. Event tickets can be purchased at United Community Bank locations in Blairsville and Hiawassee.

According to event staff, parking is limited. Because of this, it is encouraged that those who can carpool do so. The doors of the event will open at 11 a.m.

It is asked that those who attend do not cameras or cell phones into the event. Also, no photo or autograph sessions will be held following the event.

According to the Glenda Gooch committee, the maximum number of ticket purchases has been set at 10 per individual.

Those who purchase tickets to the event will also have the opportunity to receive discounts at participating local restaurants on the day of the event. If your ticket is on hand, check local restaurants for a 10 percent Bulldog discount in order to receive these benefits. Restaurants offering the 10 percent Bulldog discount will have a red or black balloon displayed outside of the establishment and an announcement posted at the entrance of the restaurant.

 

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YHC Women’s Soccer Team claims top GPA for Fall 2010 semester

January 25, 2011 Comments off

by Ethan Burch, Sports Editor
with information from wire reports

The Young Harris College women’s soccer team finished the fall semester with the highest overall team grade point average announced Monday by Director of Athletics, Randy Dunn.

The women’s soccer team earned a 3.37 team G.P.A. for the Fall 2010 semester.  In addition to their success in the classroom, the team completed its first season against four-year colleges with a winning record of 10 wins, 5 losses, and 2 ties.

“These young ladies inspire me every day!” head coach Kathy Brown said. “What more could a coach ask for?”

Members of the women’s team also displayed how much pride they each take in the student aspect of the term student/athlete.

“I feel like it is well deserved. We take our game and our school work very seriously,” said sophomore Linda Lehmann.

“I am honored to be a freshman and on such a well-rounded team,” said freshman Hayden Verner. “This shows me that school is just as important as soccer.”

The women’s soccer team was not the only team to achieve success in the classroom. Women’s cross country was a very close second with a 3.28 GPA., while men’s soccer was third with a 3.17. Following the Mountain Lion men’s soccer program was softball (3.1), men’s cross country (3.09) and women’s golf (3.08).