Although he’s classified as a redshirt sophomore after missing a season due to Tommy John surgery and getting an extra year due to COVID former Richmond Hill baseball standout Jackson Finley is in reality a senior.
Or, he was a senior. Finley, who is having an outstanding season for Georgia Tech, is now a Tech alumnus as he was one of 79 Yellow Jackets athletes to graduate last Saturday, 10 of whom were baseball players. Only football with 11 had more athletes graduate than the Tech baseball team.
Despite it being his college graduation day Finley, like the mailman, still kept his appointed rounds. He was Tech’s starting pitcher in its 15-3 win over Pitt that afternoon in a key ACC game.
The win enabled the Jackets (28-19, 10-14) to keep their ACC and NCAA tournament hopes alive going into a series at Duke this weekend. The top 12 teams in regular season play qualify for the ACC tournament and Tech is currently 11th.
Tech has only the Blue Devils and Virginia remaining in conference play and those happen to be two of the top teams in the country. Duke is currently 7th in the NCAA’s RPI rankings and UVA is 10th.
Finally getting an opportunity to play on an everyday basis Finley has developed into one of the top players in the ACC. In addition to being one of the team’s weekend starters he is leading Tech in home runs (17) and RBI (59) while hitting .317 and playing first base.
As a pitcher the 6-foot-4 224-pound righthander is 2-4 with a 4.98 ERA for 43.1 innings. He has struck out 38 and walked 15 in 11 games, all starts.
Finley is third in the ACC in RBI, fifth in home runs and his .720 slugging percentage is seventh. He is the only two-way player among the conference batting leaders.
A member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll each year he has been in school Finley is responsible for one of the most dramatic moments of the baseball season.
In a mid-April win over Auburn he drove in the tying run on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the ninth and then hit a two-out bases-loaded home run in the bottom of the 10th, a shot which easily cleared the fence in dead centerfield, for a 12-8 win.
While Finley is enjoying his breakout season a pair of brothers, former Wildcats Evan and Mitch Cowart, continued to excel on the diamond at the next level.
After a slow start Evan wound up hitting .308 for Georgia College and State University which was third best on the team. The Peach Belt Conference Bobcats finished 22-25. The freshman outfielder was inserted into the starting lineup a third of the way into the season and wound up playing in 30 games. He was the PBC freshman of the week for the week of March 20.
Mitch Cowan completed his second season at Andrew College, a twoyear school in Cuthbert, Ga., and is now looking for a new home which should not be too hard after two good years with the Tigers.
Cowan hit a solid .290 in 49 games for the Tigers who were 29-21. For his two seasons his overall batting average was .319 for 96 games. He hit .355 as a freshman. He played outstanding defense at second base this season, making only three errors in 169 chances. Hunter Legas, who pitched and played second base for the Wildcats this year, has signed to play at Andrew.
Avery Fisher, who was a four-year starter for Richmond Hill in softball, just completed her freshman season at Georgia Highlands College, a two-year school in Rome, where she wound up hitting .236 with three home runs and 18 RBI in 39 games. Highlands was 20-28 on the season.
Fisher will be joined this fall by Bryan County High School pitching standout Hayden Joyner who has signed to play for the Chargers.