Cavs jump to No. 16 in national NJCAA poll; Darton softball falls to No. 19

Darton baseball coach Scot Hemmings

Darton baseball coach Scot Hemmings

ALBANY — Riding a 12-game winning streak, the Darton State College baseball team jumped to No. 16 in the NJCAA poll on Wednesday.

The Cavs, who are now 18-4 and a perfect 7-0 at home, were unranked in the preseason poll — but now they are one of just nine junior college teams in the nation with 18 or more wins.

“I hung the poll on the bulletin board in the locker,” Darton coach Scot Hemmings said. “I could hear some excitement in there, and some motivation to get higher, to continue to win … and they want to win a conference championship.”

Hemmings added that while some coaches may say that polls don’t have a lot of meaning, his ideas are a total opposite.

“I think this means the world,” he said. “This is what you play for. This is what guys come to Darton for … to be among the best in the nation.”

Right now the Cavs are the best in the Region XVII standings, having overcome a challenging schedule to grasp a No. 1 conference ranking.

“It’s huge to stay in first place and make everybody want to catch up,” Hemmings said.

Region rival East Georgia State will be no exception when it steps onto Cavalier Field on Friday. The Bobcats are 9-13 overall and fifth in the region standings, but they challenged the Cavs, who are 5-0 in the region, in Swainsboro on Tuesday, when the Cavs had to come from behind to win, 5-4.

The Cavs are currently being led by sophomore ace A.J. Sunstrum, who is 5-1 with a 2.64 ERA and was recently named the national Pitcher of the Week in the NJCAA.

Top hitters for Darton are Cody Wofford (.422 batting average), Kyle Conkle (.389), Riliani Familia (.377), Davis Knapp (.364), Casey James (.358), Nate Ferrell (.358) and Ventavis Jerger (.341).

Friday’s game begins at 6 p.m., and East Georgia will return to Cavalier Field on Saturday for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.

Lady Cavs slip nine spots to No. 19 in NJCAA national softball poll

ALBANY — The Darton softball team fell to No. 19 in the NJCAA national poll Wednesday after going 2-3 in their previous five games.

The Lady Cavs had won eight out of nine heading into the nightcap of Sunday’s doubleheader against Tallahassee Community College, but Darton dropped the game and split a pair of doubleheaders during the week with TCC and East Georgia State.

Darton (23-9, 3-1), which started the season ranked 10th in the nation, will play again today at home in a doubleheader against Chipola, which is ranked No. 4 with an overall record of 21-3.

The Lady Cavs return to Region XVII play Saturday at home against Middle Georgia.