The Northwest Florida State College baseball team got a table-setter and a table-clearer when Colquitt County’s Mack Hathcock and Ross Goforth signed to continue their careers at the Niceville, Fla., junior college.
Hathcock, a speedy outfielder-pitcher who will bat leadoff for Colquitt County this spring, and Goforth, who led the Parkers in home runs last season, were surrounded by family, friends, coaches and fellow students when they signed at the high school media center.
Northwest Florida State assistant coach Brett Stewart attended the signing and said he envisions Hathcock at the top of the of the Raiders order and getting on base with Goforth hitting in the middle of the order and driving home his former Packer teammate.
It is an equations that Colquitt County baseball coach Tony Kirkland also foresees this spring as the Packers chase region and state championships.
Both Stewart and Kirkland made a point of mentioning that not only are Goforth and Hathcock outstanding baseball players, both are fine students and popular members of the student body.
“They are high-character guys and that’s what we want at Northwest Florida State,” Stewart said.
Kirkland said they two are “gentlemen as well as players.”
And Goforth spoke for both himself and Hathcock when he said, “We are going to do out best to represent Colquitt County well at the next level.”
It’s not often that teammates sign to play together at the same school. But Northwest Florida State is getting players who could move on to a two-year school after a stint in Niceville.
The two were able to get some information about the Northwest Florida State program from their former Colquitt County teammate Vann Pitts, who played for the Raiders last season and is expected to start at catcher for them this season.
Goforth was a first-team All-Region 1-AAAAAA selection after hitting .413, clubbing eight home runs and driving in 33 runs for the 20-11 Packers last spring.
His batting average, hits and RBIs were second on the team. He also had five doubles.
He also was selected to play in Georgia Underclassman Showcase in June.
Hathcock was slowed the last two seasons by arm miseries, but after topping out at 88 mph in a pair of recent bullpen sessions, he appears ready to pitch and cut the ball loose from center field.
He batted .306, led the Packers in runs scored with 34 and was 12-for-12 in stolen bases and was a second-team all-region selection.
He also was the fourth Packer in as many years to be play for Junior Team Georgia in the annual Sunbelt Classic in Oklahoma last June and participated in the Georgia Underclassman Classic.