Locals leading the way to hot start for Gulf Coast baseball team

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 6:57 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The Gulf Coast baseball team is off to an 8-3 start, and players from around Bay County are helping to lead the way.

Home grown is the recipe for Coach Tyler Younger and his Gulf Coast squad this season and it’s a recipe that’s served him well as Bay County has produced some of the top talent in the country.

”In Bay County, it’s always been pretty darn good. If you look back there’s a lot of draft picks from this county.” coach Younger says.

”Likes of Lucas Dunn, a good friend of my Jaden Rudd, JJ Bleday, there’s a lot of great talent coming out of Bay County.” says G.C. infielder Jeremy Todd. “It’s been really special you know, to play against all the good talent you know. Like, a couple of Mosley boys that were in my grade, now we’re all playing together. It’s really surreal.”

Mosley alum Tyler Wave adds “Even in the Panhandle you can have the same talent as in like South Florida and just like all around the nation really.

”This year, 9 of the 23 Commodores come from Bay Country. But, what does that mean in terms of team building? Well, for the Commodores, it’s one word, chemistry. Several players used that word in describing what’s lead to the early season success. And as Bozeman alum and current G.C. shortstop Cade Parker puts it, “We love coming out here everyday because we all know each other. It just makes for really good practices and obviously really good games.”

“Fortunate that we were able to land a bunch of these kids this year. It seems like its created some buzz around the program.” says coach Younger. Not only does the familiarity bring along team chemistry, it brings a community filling the stands for every pitch, says G.C. outfielder Banks Byers, who played high school ball at Bozeman and Mosley. “Last year, you know, there wasn’t a great fan base but I think having 9 guys on, from Bay County, on this team brings a lot of fans out. It just shows that we have a bunch of support and that we just have a bunch of people that have our back really.” That support is definitely appreciated. It gives the team energy and life, and allows them to push through some very talented competition. “If you’re from around here you’ve heard of the Panhandle conference. A lot of people tell ya it’s the SEC of junior college baseball.” adds Mosley alum and G.C. catcher Coleman Rowan. ”This is the best JUCO baseball league in the country and I think it shows out, if you go down the line and look at what we’ve produced.” Chemistry, community, competition all things playing local provides but maybe the most important one of them all, happiness and a dream fulfilled. “I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else in the Panhandle conference for sure. Being right here in my backyard, bunch of friends come watch, bunch of family members. It’s really cool to play at home for my sophomore year, no doubt” says Parker.

Gulf Coast is back on the field Tuesday at home against Wallace of Dothan.