Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

A small school in Georgia is channeling the 1986 Mets in all the best ways

Mookie Wilson and the 1986 Mets were a hellacious bunch of fun.
Mookie Wilson and the 1986 Mets were a hellacious bunch of fun.
Image: Getty Images

There’s a moment in 1986 Mets: A Year To Remember, the greatest sports year-in-review video ever made, when, as Ray Knight hits a walkoff homer to beat the Astros on July 3, Tim McCarver crows, “They’re spreading the news that they are right now the dominant team in this game — in either league!”

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About the only thing the Mets didn’t do that year, and of course didn’t do at all until Johan Santana in 2012, is throw a no-hitter.

Well, there’s another dominant team these days, and they have thrown a no-no. Chase Townsend is the pitcher who did it, striking out nine in the second game of a Tuesday doubleheader as Georgia Highlands College took down Scoutz USA Post Grad, 3-0, and moved to 21-3 on the season.

That would be the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) season, where Georgia Highlands now moves into Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) play against Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Andrew, East Georgia, Gordon State, and South Georgia, the latter itself 17-2 in non-conference play, so maybe this is a strength of schedule thing and Georgia Highlands isn’t that dominant.

As it turns out, Gordon State was No. 19 in the national NJCAA preseason rankings, no GCAA team is currently ranked, and maybe Georgia Highlands has had a somewhat soft schedule, opening the season with — including this weekend’s start of conference play — a 28-game homestead.

Maybe they’re not really so dominant, we’ll find out soon enough, but there’s still something to be said for the fact that the Chargers have outscored their opposition 208-64, while batting .357/.479/.566 as a team. So, who cares if Wallace Community College-Dothan came up from Alabama and wrecked shop, 10-8 and 8-2, in a doubleheader last month? Or that GCAA rival Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College led against Dothan until a five-run ninth inning sent them to an 8-5 defeat? The point is that Georgia Highlands is 21-3 and has the nation’s leader in stolen bases, Brandon Prince, who’s swiped 29 bags and is hitting .406, which is only fourth-best among Chargers lineup regulars.

You’re probably still not seeing what a two-year college on the Rome, Georgia, city line has to do with the 1986 Mets. As exciting as it is to learn about the Gordon State Highlanders and their new mascot, Gordy, what’s so special about an unranked team that seriously just appears to be fattening up on cupcakes before starting play in a conference that isn’t all that powerful to begin with?

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Well, you see, Georgia Highlands College’s uniforms are… the 1986 Mets uniforms.

Also, Georgia Highlands has an interesting recruiting base.

Illustration for article titled A small school in Georgia is channeling the 1986 Mets in all the best ways
Screenshot: Google Maps
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Wait a second.

Zoom out.

Illustration for article titled A small school in Georgia is channeling the 1986 Mets in all the best ways
Screenshot: Google Maps
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Yes, that is a marker for Oosterhout, Netherlands, hometown of pitcher Finn Kops and outfielder Max Kops.

So, if you ever find yourself at the Bakkerijmuseum on Klappeijstraat, and there’s a fella or two wearing what looks like a Mets hat, but with “GH” on it, you can strike up a conversation about that brilliant run of, yes, dominant baseball that the Chargers played in the first two dozen games of the 2021 season.

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And they’ll see on Saturday afternoon in a doubleheader against Andrew if it’s two bakers’ dozen.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.