First year Seahawk baseball coach Brock Johnson decided to switch things up for the upcoming season.
After discussion with Missy and Ricky Abercombie, parents of Seahawks senior pitcher Cody Abercrombie, Johnson decided to announce before the season opens, rather than after it closes, that the left-handed pitcher has decided to accept an offer to play next year for Hall of Fame coach Jeff Johnson at Chipola College.
“I’m very proud of him,” Johnson told a gathering of family, friends and Seahawk teammates in the high school’s media center Jan. 31. “He’s the first of many kids who are going to go on to play college ball. For so long we’ve been overlooked.”
Johnson, a product of Liberty County with an impressive 27-year tenure at Chipola, has an enviable resume of accomplishments that include a career record 986-460-3, an induction into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, three NJCAA Coach of the Year honors, and three national championships, as well more than 240 former players who have gone on to play for four-year institutions and/or professional baseball, 19 of whom have played in the major leagues, and four as All-Stars.
“This is a huge opportunity for Cody; this is very high caliber,” said Johnson. “He’s always been the player to pitch against tougher competition.”
Abercrombie, at six-feet and 185 pounds, had a 2.15 earned run average last season and is expected to anchor a young pitching squad this season for Franklin County.
Johnson said in college he may become a position player, because he’s shown he’s a fine fielder, and is versatile with his baseball skills.
Johnson said he’s looking forward to the young athletes who will populate his roster. “We have more athleticism,” he said. “We’re going to be fast, and we have to use it to our advantage each game.
“We’ve been in the weight room and we’ll be swinging the bats very well,” Johnson said.
Returning from last year’s 16-11 squad, which was ousted from the playoffs after narrow losses to the Bozeman Bucks are senior Logan Bentley, freshman Sadiq Jones, senior Braden McCall, senior Terry Proctor, and senior Alex Sterling, all right-handed pitchers.
“We’ve lost a lot of production with those kids from last year,” Johnson said.
A long time coach with younger kids, and for the past 10 years an assistant for Scott Collins’ softball program, Johnson, Franklin County High School’s school resource officer, will have four assistants, Lloyd Alford, Scott Kelly, and for the middle school squad, Tyler Poloronis and Chase Crum.
The middle school season began this week, and the first varsity preseason games are Feb. 12 and 13, with the regular season starting Feb. 23.