by David T. Mann, Sports Information Director
ALBANY – Five Darton State College Cavaliers signed early commitments to university programs at a ceremony today by the Cavalier Arena in Albany.
John Harman, Brandon Goldsmith, Ventavis Jerger, Hill Thomas and Payton Mann all signed commitment letters for the NJCAA’s early signing period.
“This is just another example of why guys are wanting to come here,” Darton State College head baseball coach Scot Hemmings said. “It’s evident we’re developing players from the high school level into major college prospects.”
Harman, a left-handed pitcher from Carrollton, signed with Western Kentucky University. The Hilltoppers are a NCAA D-1 program that will enter the highly competitive Conference USA next year. Harman threw 51 strikeouts in 17 appearances and averaged six strikeouts per game as a freshman. He kept a low 2.82 ERA in conference play and finished No. 2 in the GCAA with 7 wins.
Goldsmith, a right-hander from Hamilton, was a perfect 6-0 from the mound last season and signed with the University of West Georgia today. Goldsmith joined the Cavaliers from Harris Country High School, and as a Darton freshman had an incredible 2.52 ERA.
Jerger signed with NCAA D-1 program Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. The shortstop scored 30 runs, had 11 RBI, and posted a .339 conference batting average. Speed is one of Jergers’ best assets, and the Tallahassee native stole 26 bases last spring.
Thomas and Mann both signed as catchers. Thomas came to Darton from Early County High School and signed today with Georgia Southwestern University. Mann, a Tifton native, signed with West Georgia University.
“If you look at these signees – in the classroom, on the field, off the field, in the community – the word that comes to mind is ‘elite’,” Hemmings said. “They are elite players, and elite players have the whole package.”
“These guys are phenomenal, and I’m proud of them,” he continued. “They’ve worked their tails off.”
Darton baseball has produced seven D-1 transfers and seven D-2 transfers from the past two classes. Those numbers are expected to leap again, as a number of Cavalier sophomores are holding out until the next signing period in April.