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Chargers move to within one victory of claiming conference tournament title

May 8, 2024 Charles Wilson /

Luke Orfi and Clay Wiesen both produced three hits including a home run and four RBIs and starting pitcher Michael Sharman tossed seven solid innings Wednesday afternoon as the Georgia Highlands Chargers defeated the Gordon State Highlanders 10-5 in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association conference tournament in Cartersville.

Luke Orfi and Clay Wiesen combined for six hits and eight RBIs Wednesday in the Georgia Highlands 10-5 win over Gordon State.

The Highlanders led in the first inning on a two-run homer by Kaleb Huffman but their advantage would be short-lived.

Orfi blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the second inning for a 3-2 Chargers lead and they would not trail again.

Wiesen hit a three-run blast in the fourth and Davis Newman homered to right field in the fifth inning to build an 8-2 lead. Wiesen then singled into left field two batters later to make it 9-2.

“Those guys (Orfi and Wiesen) are just playing their game and doing what they’ve done all year,” said Chargers’ coach Dash O’Neill. “They’ve produced and we’re fortunate to have good depth in our lineup. The guys at the bottom of the order do a great job turning the lineup over and creating chances for the guys at the top,” he added.

The Highlanders narrowed the margin to 9-4 in the top of the seventh on a Casual Kay home run.

In the seventh, Orfi drove in Gray Wilson with a single to round out the Georgia Highlands scoring. Mason Moore hit a solo home run in the eighth for Gordon State but that would also be the Highlanders final tally.

Michael Sharman picked up his 10th pitching win in Wednesday's tournament victory over Gordon State.

Newman (homer, two RBIs) and Barrett Eldridge finished with two hits for GHC. Wilson, Grayson Godbee, and Ryan Wideman added one hit each to the Chargers’ 13-hit total.

Sharman, an Etowah High School product, went seven innings on the mound to collect the pitching victory — his tenth of the year. He scattered eight hits and one walk while recording three strikeouts. 

O’Neill talked about his starting pitcher after the game.

“Sharman has just been a pleasure to coach. He’s very consistent and reliable and he goes out and competes every week. I couldn’t be more proud of his progression and we have a ton of confidence when he is on the bump,” said O’Neill.

Andrew Arnold retired the final six outs in the eighth and ninth innings. Arnold yielded one earned run on two hits with no walks and one strikeout.

The win for Georgia Highlands was their 50th of the year and it places them in the conference championship round needing just one more win to capture the tournament title. The Chargers (50-7) already own the regular season title and are currently ranked No. 3 nationally in the latest NJCAA poll.

When asked about the 50-win plateau, O’Neill deflected the reflection to the future.

“That’s something I’ll have a chance to think about when the season is over, but right now this is really about the players and the opportunity they have created for themselves.”

Gordon State defeated South Georgia State 14-5 in an elimination game later in the day on Wednesday to earn a rematch with the Chargers in the final round. The Highlanders (33-21) must defeat GHC twice on Thursday.

O’Neill was asked about Thursday’s pitching assignments.

“We haven’t made any decisions yet,” noted the coach. “We are going to see how the game tonight (Gordon v. South Georgia) goes and then decide how we want to attack the day tomorrow.”


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