Anderson thrives at Georgia
Published 10:52 am Saturday, May 16, 2020
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
He patiently waited, knowing his time would come.
LaGrange High graduate Ben Anderson played baseball at Furman University as a freshman, and after a successful debut season as a college athlete, he transferred to the University of Georgia.
Because of transfer rules, Anderson was unable to play during the 2019 season, so he was a spectator while Georgia went 46-17 and advanced to the NCAA tournament.
As the 2020 season approached, Anderson knew it was his time, and when Georgia played its opener in February, he was the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter.
Anderson had a hit and two runs scored in a come-from-behind win over Richmond in the season opener, and that was a sign of things to come.
In a season that was cut short because of the coronavirus
pandemic, Anderson led Georgia with a .414 batting average and a .544 on-base percentage.
Anderson was also tops on the team with 24 runs scored in 18 games, and he had 13 RBIs.
It may have taken him a few years to make it happen, but Anderson’s goal of being on the field for the Georgia Bulldogs finally became a reality.
“When I was a senior at LaGrange, Georgia was kind of my dream school,” Anderson said. “It didn’t work out then, but I’m here now, and that’s all that matters.”
Anderson’s good work on the baseball field, and in the class room, hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Anderson, along with teammate Emerson Hancock, was named to the 2020 Academic All-District Baseball Team.
The team, which is selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, recognizes student-athletes for their performance in sports and academics.
Anderson, a red-shirt sophomore, has a 3.57 grade point average in biochemistry and molecular biology.
“I’m proud of that,” Anderson said of his academic success. “I like to challenge myself.”
Anderson, after an exceptional high-school career that ended with a trip to the state semifinals in 2017, stepped right into the lineup as a freshman at Furman.
Anderson hit .361 with three home runs with 39 RBIs, and he was the leadoff hitter in every game during the 2018 season.
Anderson then made the decision to transfer to Georgia, knowing he wouldn’t be able to play right away.
“Obviously sitting out a year it’s tough, watching your teammates play,” Anderson said. “You want to try to be out there to help the team as much as you can.”
Anderson took advantage of that off year to “get stronger and quicker, and put on some size I didn’t have. It just lets you work on some things you need to work on to get better.”
Anderson felt the time he spent with his teammates in the fall helped give him the confidence to know he could succeed at Georgia.
“I practiced through the fall, and I faced our pitchers, and they’re really good,” Anderson said. “I was ready.”
Anderson’s first season as a Georgia player only lasted 18 games, but he nonetheless made a massive impact.
For a team that went 14-4, Anderson became the first Georgia player to finish a season with a batting average above .400 since 2008 when Gordon Beckham hit .414.
Anderson had seven multi-hit games, and that included three-hit performances against Georgia Tech and Richmond.
Anderson was the leadoff hitter in every game, and that’s a position he’s obviously comfortable in.
“I’ve always hit leadoff, or been near the top of the lineup,” Anderson said. “I’m expected to get on base and make things happen, and that’s what did.”
Anderson, with an eye on being as prepared as he can be for the 2021 season, has signed up to play for the Savannah Bananas this summer.
The season was originally going to begin in June, but the start date has been pushed back to July.