PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Gulf Coast baseball team did not find a spot in the opening NJCAA Top 20, but they’re confident they can win the Panhandle Conference this season.

The Commodores made noise in the conference last season, and as they enter their second season under Head Coach Tyler Younger, they’re ready to take the next step.

“I think we’ve got a talented group this year,” Younger said. “Now we’re going to be young we have 16 freshmen but I feel like we have a talented group. So it’s just going to be a matter of, you know, being consistent and learning how to be even keel and not ride the emotional roller coaster.”

Of the 23 players on Gulf Coast’s roster, nine are Bay County natives. One of those nice is returning sophomore LHP Carson Dorsey, who led the state in strikeouts in 2022 and is a consensus top-three pitcher in the NJCAA this season.

“He’s an animal mentally,” Gulf Coast R-Freshman catcher Colman Rowan said. “He’s a dog. He has the dog mentality that everybody talks about, he has the go get it, he has the will to and he has every bit of talent to do so.”

“Carson has every ability to be a top draft pick in this year’s draft,” Gulf Coast R-Sophomore infielder Cade Parker said. “I mean, the guy loves to compete, he loves to win, and I think what makes him even better is because he hates losing.”

With a mix of young freshman talent and several division-one transfers, the updated roster for the ‘Dores seems to have all the right pieces. Younger and the team believe the sky is the limit.

“The ultimate goal is to win a national championship,” Younger said. “And we feel like we have the team that can, you know, win a conference championship and a state championship. It’s just a matter of being able to put it together and be consistent in this league.”

“That’s our train of thought right now that we are the best team in this conference we’re the best team in the nation,” Rowan said. “And we have that mentality, and with that mentality, I think it’ll really, really carry over to the season and how we play and how to perform and what we expect to do day in and day out. And that is take the conference by storm and win it this year and then win state and go to Grand Junction when that too.”

Gulf Coast will open its season against St. College of Florida in North Port on Friday, January 27.