The Georgia Power Softball Club was founded in the fall of 2009 by Coach Ernie Yarbrough, and played their first season in the spring of 2010. The “GAP” fielded five teams in the inaugural season. The five inaugural managers were Keith Perry (10U), Terry Pealor (12U), Coach Ernie (14U), and Gerald Miller (14U), and Mike Bell (16U).
Also, in 2009 the Georgia Academy Power Baseball Club (2 teams- 15YO and 16YO) was started by Ryan Christenson who played 6 season in Majors. In 2001, he won a World Series ring with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2013 Coach Christenson was hired to coach in the Oakland A’s Organization. It was at this time that the GAP Baseball program temporarily hibernated, however in the fall of 2016 GAP Baseball was re-introduced with two teams managed by Adam Fussell/ Jay Worley (10YO), and David Mathena/ Paul Ericson (15YO).
Each subsequent year the Program has added teams in each age group and in 2016-17 fielded the most teams since its inception in 2009. That included 15 softball teams and the re-introduction of 3 baseball teams. The popularity of the Program is a direct result of the overall philosophy that “the kids come first”. Simply put, this philosophy presents a position of all involved that the focus will remain on the development of the players on and off the field. Through 30+ years of coaching at all levels, Coach Ernie had always believed in the pursuit of success proven fundamentals on the field while experiencing positive life lessons to be carried into the future.
GAP is proud that more than 40 young athletes who have worn the red-white-and blue in the past three seasons have gone on to play at the college level. The Program works very hard to develop, market, and place our players at a school where they can pursue their educational goals while continuing their softball careers. Coach Ernie had always professed “there is a good fit for any girl who wants to continue to play this game at the next level, and it is our responsibility to help find that fit”.
Each year the GAP recognizes some very special individuals with two prestigious awards. First, the Stephanie Phillips Award is given to one player from each team in the program who exhibits the characteristics of dedication, sacrifice, and commitment. Stephanie was a young lady whose life was taken at a young age by cancer. The second is the GAP Contributors Award. This award is named in honor of Neil Fuller and is given following each season to an non-playing individual who has displayed a tremendous level of commitment to the overall success of the entire Program. Neil played a huge role in the development of the Program from its conception until his untimely passing. Additionally, each year during the Christmas holiday season the Program selects a family, group, or charity to contribute to in the form of gifts, involvement, and monetary donations.
The Georgia Academy Softball Club and Baseball Club continues to provide a tremendous opportunity for young athletes and their FAMILIES to be a part of something special, yet unlike some of the highly visible programs in the region who place a greater emphasis on those who endorse themselves as the “promoters of the brand”. We are, and always will be, a Program that promotes the best interest of the kids first, with hopes that the families will enjoy the experience.
In the Fall of 2016, the Club introduced its mascot, the almighty and Powerful Pachyderm affectionately know as “Ernie The Elephant” or “EY” for short. It’s original origins are unknown to most but some said it’s because the Elephant is the most powerful mammal on land, others say it is because GAP is the Elephant in the Room, and one source even indicated that it was chosen to make others wonder why. Whatever the real reason is will probably never to be told, but regardless it is a part of our rich history now.