First Preparatory Christian Academy’s newly hired baseball coach Chandler Newman knows a thing or two about the sport. The Richmond Hill native played his baseball and was a pitcher for the Richmond Hill Wildcats. Then the class of 2015 graduate, played baseball at Georgia Southern and later at Chattahoochee Valley Community College.
On June 23, 2017 Newman was drafted to the major leagues by the San Diego Padres and assigned to the AZL Padres 1. In 2018 he continued his professional career with the AZL Padres 2 league until May of 2019. Newman played in 18 career games, pitching 14 career innings.
“And I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.
After his professional career Newman returned to his alma mater where he served as an assistant pitching coach for the Wildcats.
This year he was offered his first head coaching position at FPCA and Newman said he was thrilled to sign on.
He said the folks at FPCA are all hands-on deck and he has received a great welcome.
“It is a great group of kids and parents,” he said.
The Highlanders got a late start to their season thanks to COvID 19, playing their first game on March 5 against Bryan County High School. The FPCA boys lost 12-1 but Newman said it is a young team with yearning to grow and learn.
Newman said his focus is not only the game but on building a solid foundation with the players
“I’m making sure I build a relationship with those kids that goes further than just a baseball game,” he said.
He said he has a great pitching staff, a group well capable of throwing a lot of strikes. Newman said being a former pitcher gives him an advantage in being able to develop their talents.
He said the Highlanders are eager to hone their techniques and do their best to earn region and state titles.
Newman added that they team is doing everything in their power to stay safe and practice social distancing so they can continue to enjoy their sport.
“Let’s not take this game for granted,” he tells his players. “Look at what happened last year. It can be taken away from you pretty quick.”
Newman said it’s cool to be working at a school that is small but feels like you have the support of the entire community. He added he knows FPCA also produced a major league baseball player - Richard Lovelady. Newman said it’s not often that small schools get players that make it all the way but encourages his players to shoot for the stars.
“I’m a big dreamer and if you’ve got a dream – go for it,” he said. “Dream big, and make sure you are doing absolutely everything you can to reach that dream.”
FPCA was scheduled to play at Citizens Christian Academy yesterday. They plan to host St. Andrews Saturday at 3 p.m. They play Monday at Bulloch Academy at 6 p.m.