Eagles 3-0 in conferenceApr 6, 2021
On the heels of a 2020 season cut short, the 2021 season for the Rockingham Community College Eagles baseball team is gaining the momentum for which it’s known.
Despite restrictions of large gatherings, cancelations due to COVID-19 and inclement weather, many away games, several injuries, and tough virtual classes, the Eagles have managed a 13-7 season so far… with a 2.94 GPA.
Head Coach Reece Honeycutt said last year’s season was cut short by the pandemic, setting RCC as the 9th team in the nation with 14-6.
“Then fall came around and we had five or six games. We were restricted with big groups, and only four or five athletes could be in the weight room at a time. That really caused some time constraints,” Honeycutt said. “We’ve been doing temperature checks before every practice, and have been strict on what the boys can and can’t do, on the field and off. It’s been tougher to get the kids ready to play for this season.”
Not always able to meet as a full team has had its drawbacks.
“A lot of camaraderie is built by the team hanging out together in the fall. But this year they have had to do the work on their own and show they’re doing better,” Honeycutt said.
Regardless, their work has paid off.
“We have four or five really good sophomores,” Honeycutt said. “Scott Meitzler leads in home runs and is one of the top pitchers as well. Bennett Nooe is a returning sophomore from Morehead High School and is second in homeruns. Jarred Simpson is a big left-handed hitter, and hits in 4-hole. Garret Hladilek is shortstop, defensively, and is really… And Jonathan Todd is the #1 pitcher, and is also from Rockingham County.”
As the team worked at staying healthy, Honeycutt said a lot of players had to step up.
“We added bench guys. We have a lot of depth with the roster this year, and rely on the whole roster and not just a couple of guys,” he said.
“We were in the Top 10 the first month and half of the second month, and we are just outside that now… although we’ve received some votes.”
In the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III preseason poll in mid-January, The Eagles were ranked #5. In the seasonal weekly polls, RCC was ranked #6 on March 15 and 29, before dropping off the Top 10 in early April.
“This year we have more away games so we’ve been on the road a lot,” Honeycutt said.
“Our goal is to go back to the World Series. We’re still back-to-back champions because last year was canceled,” he said. “The first thing is to win the conference, then regional, then the World Series. It’s always special, and we’re trying to keep that up.”
RCC won the last two games prior to Easter, 15-5 against Cleveland Community College on March 30, and 6-4 against Ferrum College on April 1.
“At Cleveland, freshman Daniel Sell, a left-handed pitcher, got the win, and sophomores Jarred Simpson and Bennet Nooe had homeruns,” Honeycutt said.
“Ferrum was one nine-inning game. Ricky Gonzales was the winning pitcher, and Jonathan Todd got the save,” he said of the two freshmen.
The team had a weekend of conference play when it hosted Thomas Nelson Community College on March 20-21, leading to a 3-0 conference record.
7-6 victory across 10 innings
Batted double: Gabe Duncan (2), Angel Gonzalez, Dylan Schultheiss
RBI: Camron Lowke, Jarred Simpson (2), Scott Meitzler
Sacrificial fly: Jarred Simpson (2)
Stolen base: Gabe Duncan (2), Camron Lowke, Bennet Nooe (2), CJ Hassell
Batters faced: Jonathan Todd (28), Nick Womack (5), Camden Woods, Zach Bennett (10)
Hit by pitch: Jonathan Todd
12-4 across 7 innings
Batted double: Gabe Duncan, Camron Lowke, Bennet Nooe, Jarred Simpson (2)
Batted triple: Bennet Nooe
RBI: Gabe Duncan, Camron Lowke (2), Jarred Simpson (5), Scott Meitzler, Dylan Schultheiss (2)
Stolen base: Gabe Duncan (2), Bennet Nooe, Jarred Simpson
Double play: Garret Hladilek
Batters faced: Trenton Wood (20), Camden Woods (12)
14-6 across 7 innings
Batted double: Gabe Duncan, Bennet Nooe, Alden Kolessar
Batted triple: Garret Hladilek, CJ Hassell
Homerun: Bennet Nooe, Scott Meitzler
RBI: Camron Lowke, Bennet Nooe (4), Scott Meitzler (3), Garret Hladilek (2), Dylan Schultheiss, CJ Hassell
Stolen base: Gabe Duncan, CJ Hassell
Batters faced: Brandon Leonard (20), Hunter Lail (3), Nick Womack, Scott Meitzler (8)
Hit by pitch: Hunter Lail
Saturday, April 10 – home with Surry*
Sunday, April 11 – @Surry*
Tuesday, April 13 – @Southern Virginia University JV
Saturday, April 17 – @Thomas Nelson
Sunday, April 18 – @Thomas Nelson
Thursday, April 22 – home with Southern Virginia University JV
Saturday, April 24 – home with Caldwell Tech
Sunday, April 25 – @Caldwell Tech
Saturday, May 1 – @ Surry*
Sunday, May 2 – home with Surry*
“At the end of the day, it’s exciting to be on the baseball field. It’s been really good for the boys and the community,” Honeycutt said. “The kids are working their butts off, both on and off the field.”
For the most up-to-date schedule, including game times, visit https://www.rockinghamcc.edu/student-services/athletics/rcc-baseball/baseball-roster-schedule/.