John Milledge alum and current Georgia College Bobcat Brandon Bellflower has worn many uniforms throughout his baseball career.
The 2019 Union-Recorder All-County High School Baseball Player of the Year is adding another one to his closet this summer. Bellflower is one of 45 collegiate baseball players currently suiting up for the Macon Bacon, the amateur ballclub that has been based out of historic Luther Williams Field since 2018. The team, which competes as part of the Coastal Plain League, is a haven for college athletes looking to get more reps against good competition in the offseason.
“You always have to keep playing in order to perfect your craft,” Bellflower said. “I think that’s what the Macon Bacon does so well, it gives college players the opportunity to showcase their talent at a higher level … I want to become a better baseball player every single day. That’s what guys talk about in the major leagues, and that’s baseball at its highest level. You can never learn enough. There are always areas where you can improve.”
This is Bellflower’s first full summer with the Bacon after he enjoyed a stint there in 2020. The left-handed thrower and hitter is seeing time at first base and both corner outfield spots under head coach Kyle MacKinnon. The sweet-swinging lefty had three hits in his first two games entering play Tuesday, so he’s off to a strong start, but Bellflower hopes to see his bat sizzle even more as the Bacon continue through the summer.
“I’d like to see my slugging numbers go up a little bit more, but the more pitching I see and the better my timing gets I think that will take care of itself,” he said.
If his first season as a Bobcat is any indication, Bellflower is right. The JMA Class of 2019 graduate went to ABAC out of high school and played there a year before earning the opportunity to come home and play for Georgia College. His redshirt freshman season this spring started off decent enough with a .268 batting average through roughly the first half of the schedule. The back half saw him hit .375, which brought his season average to an impressive .322 with two homers. Bellflower knocked in 21 runs while both his on-base (.406) and slugging (.489) percentages were well above team averages.
“I came a little short of where I wanted to be, but I think I finished strong,” he said. “That helped me gain some confidence and has me looking forward to next year.”
Bellflower plans on declaring business management as his major come the fall, but his real dream lies on the diamond. Through experiences like his current one with the Macon Bacon, playing in a fall league under former Atlanta Brave Ryan Klesko, and competing against strong Division II opponents each spring, Bellflower hopes to become good enough to one day hear his name called during the Major League Baseball draft.
If he’s hoping for a glimpse at what a baseball career could be like, he’s getting it now. The Macon Bacon have more than 40 games scheduled over the next couple months before their players must return to their respective campuses for fall classes. The Bacon traveled to in-state rival the Savannah Bananas last night and will hit the road to Florence, South Carolina tomorrow to face the RedWolves. The Macon ballclub has its next home game scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday against the Spartanburg Spartanburgers in what ought to be an appetizing matchup for fans.