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Wallace Govs are Champions On and Off the Field

7/20/2017

Dothan, AL–Spring is an exciting time for baseball and softball, and this year was especially so for the Wallace Community College-Dothan (WCCD) teams and their legion of fans. In fact, it has been an outstanding year for achieving athletic and academic goals.

Sports is a tradition at WCCD. It all started 50 years ago in a field meant for cows, not running bases, and a group of young men knitted together by a coach determined to bring baseball to Wallace. In 1967, Basketball Coach Johnny Oppert drafted his players and the tradition began. Exactly 50 years later, the Wallace Govs won their first-ever regional tournament along with a trip to the NJCAA World Series, defeating six nationally-rank opponents along the way. In May, the Govs finished seventh in the nation in one postseason poll.

Individuals contributed to the team’s success. For WCCD Head Baseball Coach Mackey Sasser, winning the 600th game of his career (all at Wallace) was a personal milestone, along with being named the ACCC Coach of the Year. The Govs committed effort as a team yielded personal victories. Adrian Ramos was named ACCC Defensive Player of the Year and Philip Sieli was named ACCC Pitcher of the Week (March 13-19). First baseman Tanner Frabott was named NJCAA Player of the Week in Division I (February 20-26).

Head Baseball Coach and Athletic Director Mackey Sasser cited the teams’ achievements to leadership and hard work. “We had a great 2017 because of hard-working leadership among the players and team chemistry. This was a group of dedicated athletes,” Sasser said.

The players’ hard work paid off in their studies with seven players earning scholarships to four-year institutions. Govs looking forward to the next level include Devante Dixon (University of Alabama Birmingham), Philip Sieli (University of West Florida), John Mason (Mississippi State University), Brandon Geiger (Thomas University), Joey Bend (University of West Florida), Austin Garrett (University of Georgia or Delta State University) and Ethan Michaelis (University of North Florida).

Ryan Spry, director, student & campus services, accompanied the baseball and softball teams and coaches throughout the season through their incredible journey. “I have honestly never been more proud of a group of student-athletes, said Spry. “They represented our institution with grace, humility and excellence on and off the field throughout the year.”

The Lady Govs earned a record of 46-17, finishing fourth in the Alabama Community College Tournament, which was the highest in almost a decade. Technically, this team excelled. They turned the most double plays and scored the most runs in the ACCC. They were number nine in the number of runs in the nation. In Conference play, three Lady Govs were named to the 1st Team All-Region Team, one to the 2nd Team All-Region Team, four named to the 1st Team All-South Division Team, and one named to the 2nd Team All-South Division Team. Alexis Sydnor was named ACCC Player of the Week (February 6-12).

The shining achievement for the Lady Govs was the team GPA, which was 3.57 for the 2016-2017 academic year – first among ACCC softball teams. This was the second year in a row the Lady Govs have claimed this spot. “These players’ goal was to meet or exceed last year’s GPA and they challenged themselves as a team to meet that goal,” said Clair Goodson, assistant softball coach.

Players were recognized academically on a national level by the NJCAA, an achievement that Softball Head Coach David Russo was especially proud of. “It is truly remarkable how the team maintained such a high grade point average with the demands placed on them throughout the season. They lived up to the high standards we have set here.”

Players recognized included Laken Haynes and Taylor Lane, named to the NCJAA All-Academic First Team (4.00 GPA). Abby Deason, Alexis Dean, Alexis Sydnor, Baylee Everson, Briana Sims, and Tiffany Williams were named to the Second team (3.80-3.99 GPA). Paige Smith was named to the Third team (3.60-3.79 GPA).

The final goal for any player is “getting the tassel.” Sophomores Anslie Pollard, Katie Thompson, Briana Sims, Taylor Payne, Taylor Carr, Abby Deason, Laken Haynes, and Tiffany Williams recently graduated from WCCD with an associate degree.

Sasser is already looking forward to next season to challenge new and returning players to reach event higher goals. “It takes hard work on the athletes’ part and support by the coaching staff and the College to be successful. We are dedicated to each player’s success – on and off the field.”

For the Govs and Lady Govs, this was a season to build on. 

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