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Brant optimistic about Baron baseball in 2007
By Taylor Hereford
Director of Marketing
Coach Hayne Brant
MOUNT VERNON – For first year head baseball coach Hayne Brant, optimism abounds in the Brewton-Parker College dugout as the Barons step up to the plate for 2007.
Five starters, along with seven pitchers, return from the 2006 team that went 29-22 and finished sixth in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) baseball tournament.
“We have the potential to be a very good team this year,” said Brant. “We are very deep on the mound and in the field.”
Barons returning for the 2007 season are sophomore Kyle Smith (catcher – Clearmont, Fla.), juniors Josh Evans (shortstop - Chauncey) and Baker Romine (second base - Woodstock), and seniors Jeremy Brown (outfield - Arabi) and Phillip Lee (shortstop - Savannah).
The returning pitchers are sophomore Jaret Bristol (RHP – Niceville, Fla.), junior Tremayne Holland (RHP – Bellville), and seniors Randy Jo Griffin (RHP – Guyton), Shaun O’Toole (LHP – Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada), and JF Neveu (RHP – Petitrocher, New Brunswick, Canada).
Brant, along with pitching coach Andrew Gernatt and assistant coach Justin Dover – both of whom are former Barons – are not only excited about the return of a solid veteran core, but the addition of quality transfers and a freshman class that looks to make a significant contribution to this year’s team.
Those hoping to make an impact in their first season with the Barons include freshmen Ray Meyers (catcher – Valdosta), Brian Stauff (infield – Dunnellon, Fla.), Evan Pedrick (catcher – Sarasota, Fla.), and Josh King (first base – Cartersville). Sophomore Matt Stanley (outfield - Vidalia), along with juniors Josh Sasser (third base - Vidalia) and Phill Merrill (infield – Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada) also plan to make their mark this season.
The talent on this year’s team is not the only trait bringing optimism to the coaching staff, Brant says. He, Gernatt, and Dover are encouraged by the work ethic of the players and the attitudes they bring to practice everyday.
“These positive character traits help provide a solid foundation from which to build upon,” said Brant. “It’s refreshing to work with this team.”
Brant, a graduate of the State University of West Georgia, is in his fourth season at BPC. He has been the recruiting coordinator for the Barons' baseball program all four seasons until being named head coach for the 2007 season. His coaching career started at Young Harris College where he was an assistant coach for two seasons. A Rincon, Ga. native, Brant now resides in Lyons with his wife, Holly, and their son, Trey, and daughter, Campbell.
Andrew Gernatt is in his first season of coaching baseball at BPC. Gernatt played four years for the Barons and graduated last spring with a bachelor of arts degree in sport and fitness. A Marietta, Ga. native, Gernatt resides in Mount Vernon with his wife, Tonya, and their son, AJ.
The Barons coaching staff is rounded out by first year assistant coach, Justin Dover. Dover played four years for the Barons and was an All-American his senior year (2006). He will complete his business degree at BPC and graduate in May.
The Barons opened their season at home Jan. 29 against Tennessee Temple. Their next home game is a doubleheader Thursday, Feb. 1 against Claflin College. The first pitch is at 2 p.m.