On Wednesday night, the Georgia State Panthers lost to cross-town rival Georgia Tech 12-6. It was a tough night for the Panther pitching staff, but a bright spot emerged in the bottom of the 9th. Head Coach Greg Frady’s team could have mailed in the last at bats, but instead they fought back and put four runs on the board to close the final margin.
The four-run outburst was led by a three-run homer from Junior right fielder Brandon Bell who is in his first season as a Panther after a successful two-year career at Georgia Highlands College. Before that, he attended Whitewater High School in Fayetteville, Georgia, where his head coach was Rusty Bennett, who is a Georgia State Alumni himself.
Bennett had a successful four-year career with the Panthers from 2002 through 2005. Among his accomplishments include Honorable Mention Freshman All-American, Team MVP in 2003, and 1st Team All-Conference in 2003. He ended his career at Georgia State ranked in the top 10 in numerous offensive categories; 4th in career home runs and RBIs, including 63 RBIs in 2003.
He has been at the helm at Whitewater since the 2014 season and has won two region championships and back-to-back state runner up finishes. But Bennett is not only a great coach who is building character and skill in the young men on his roster, he still bleeds blue in pride for his alma mater, Georgia State.
After a recent Whitewater win over region rival McIntosh, Bennett was asked about the Panthers season, “They are playing really well, they won two series in a row and then lost a heartbreaker to Auburn, Coach Frady has those guys going in the right direction and I am excited about the future. They have a great facility and a great field, I loved my four years there and I love the school.”
It is a great moment for the Georgia State when a current player was coached and mentored by a Panther alumni in high school, it builds pride and continuity to a program that is on the rise in national prominence.