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April 30, 2024

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Ft. Dorchester Baseball in the Midst of a Turnaround

Will they pull it off?

FDHS Varsity Baseball has fully embraced the challenges of being the underdog and could possibly be in the course of a big turnaround.

Patriots baseball has gotten off to a solid start with two wins and one tie in February. They defeated Cane Bay, pulled off an upset against Wando, and also tied Wando.

Fort Dorchester is in one of the state’s toughest baseball regions (Region 8), one that includes Summerville HS, Ashley Ridge HS and West Ashley HS. The team’s non-region schedule includes other formidable opponents such as Hanahan HS, Oceanside HS, and Berkeley HS, so the team has their work cut out for them.

However, the team believes they are prepared for the competition and ready to make a comeback as they are led by new head coach, Jon Helsabeck. “We run our day-to-day operations as close to a collegiate program as possible,” he said. “The biggest focal point we are instilling in our players is mental strength and competing. If we never get too high nor too low mentally, we have a chance to battle and compete on the next pitch.”

Helsabeck was the assistant athletic director and coach at North Carolina’s Stanly Community College for five years prior. Helsabeck plans to get the Fort D program headed in the right direction with a good mix of players. His expectations for the team this season are high.

“Results are results. Obviously, we want to win every time we step on the field, but the expectations this year are for our guys to believe in the best opportunities to be successful,” he stated. “With trust and understanding, players improve and give us a chance to win each moment.”

The Patriots have a couple of players with Palmetto Games experience in the program. Helsabeck also has several players returning with varsity experience, along with some promising younger athletes for this upcoming season.

“The future looks bright thanks to a young talented roster, anchored by a solid group of upperclassmen. Many are committed to playing at the next level. We have a clean slate with a ton of improvements, and one year can make a big difference in any program,” Yvonne Smith, a big fan of the FDHS program, explained. 

The program is changing as Fort is making big upgrades to the field. They are making sure that their athletes have an optimal facility to ensure their success.

 Ljay Johnson, one of the team captains shared, “I see great things happening in the program from the top down. The dedication of the athletic department and coaches is visible in the changes in the field and facilities. The guys are working harder than ever on and off the field. The team is made up of a really great group of kids who are working hard to make their community proud. The sky is the limit for this group of athletes.”

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