GHC prospect camp provides opportunity
by Jason Greenberg
Jun 04, 2014 | 1352 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brent Arnold was one of the top run producers for the Cartersville baseball team in 2014 and helped the Canes reach the state championship series.

However, like many talented high school baseball players in the area, Arnold is still looking for a college to take his talents to.

Fortunately for Arnold and other unsigned players, Georgia Highlands held its unsigned senior/junior prospect camp Monday at Richard Bell Field in which 65 prospects came out to showcase their skills for a chance to play in college.

“It benefits us because we get to see a lot of kids in one setting. It gives us something to look at this summer. The younger kids, we can follow them this summer. The 2014 [graduated seniors], if we think they can compete with what we got, we invite them to come to school and compete in the fall,” Georgia Highlands head coach Mike Marra said. “Out of the kids that were there that were 2014 guys, there’s probably four that we would like to see on campus in the fall. [Arnold] is one of them. And a lot of the [class of 2015 graduating seniors] are pretty decent.”

Marra said that about 60 percent of the participants in the showcase were seniors. In addition to finding players that can help the Georgia Highlands team, Marra also hopes the camp will increase the name recognition of the propman, which is entering its second season.

“It gets more exposure to our program and to our school,” Marra said of the camp. “I think from last summer to this summer, the quality in skill level was better. We had more underclassmen, so that was good for me because it means our message is getting out in this part of Georgia that Georgia Highlands has competitive baseball. We saw more underclassmen and from a wider swath of the state then last year, so we’re really starting to grow the brand of Chargers baseball.”

Prospects came from the surrounding counties, some from Alabama and Tennessee, and even one prospect from Puerto Rico.

Marra said, regardless of where players were from, they showed plenty of interest in Georgia Highlands, indicating the development of the program from year one to year two.

“What was interesting is we had a 2015 kid form Gordon Lee High School [Jake Rogers]. He did a very good job. He threw the ball extremely well. So I talked to him when he was done pitching and I said, ‘Have you already started to look at some schools?’ He said, ‘To tell you the truth, I want to come here.’ So I said, ‘Well, that’s easy. We can do that,’” Marra said. “That’s nice to hear from him to be up in Walker County and have an understanding of what we’re doing over here. It’s starting to permeate around the state, so that’s good. We get some recognition and the name is starting to ring a bell.”

Marra took the prospects through drills in the first hour of the camp before playing in games. The event lasted nearly six hours.

“We look for the tools,” Marra said. “We do a pro style workout in the beginning, so we’re looking at their speed, their arm strength. Then we do the [velocity] off the bat, so we’re looking for numbers.”

Ultimately, only a few from the field of 65 will end up donning blue and orange.

Last year, Khari Anderson attended the camp and found himself starting several games as a freshman at shortstop for the Chargers.

“There’s two or three kids today that may make our team. Sometimes you catch lightning in a bottle,” Marra said. “You never know. You just need to get one kid who can make a difference.”

Arnold has potential to be that player and he was able to make an impression on Marra over the course of Cartersville’s season and on Monday.

“I think Brent could certainly help us,” Marra said. “He threw well, he ran well [Monday].”

Arnold played on Cartersville’s junior varsity team until this past season and did not start in the first two games in 2014. He went on to become one of the team’s most productive hitters and batted .333 while driving in 12 runs in the postseason.

“I’ve always wanted to play [college baseball] but I didn’t think I would. I didn’t even think I was going to start at Cartersville,” Arnold said. “I didn’t start the first two games [in 2014] and I started stepping it up at practice, and started every other game. I guess, when I started hitting home runs, that’s [when I thought I could play in college].”