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Dalton High baseball plans to honor alums, former coach with jersey retirement ceremony

Apr. 10—Before a Friday night game, the Dalton High School baseball team will officially honor three Catamount alumni and a legendary former coach.

Friday at 5:45 p.m., prior to Dalton's home game against East Hamilton at 6 p.m., the Catamounts will officially retire jerseys for former players Matthew Boggs, Mitchell Boggs and Rodney Hennon alongside former coach Manny Pontonio. Jersey numbers for all four had previously been retired, but Dalton will officially recognize the retired numbers by hanging jerseys at the school's baseball field.

Both Boggs brothers, Matthew and Mitchell, wore a No. 1 jersey at Dalton before going on to play in college, and, in Mitchell's case, Major League Baseball. The No. 1 jersey is retired in honor of both brothers. No. 10 will be hung up for former Catamount Rodney Hennon, who now coaches at Georgia Southern University, while No. 9 will be displayed in honor of former Catamount coach Manny Pontonio, who coached all three of the other honorees during his 20 years of coaching Catamount baseball.

Matthew Boggs played for the Catamounts under Pontonio from 1994-1997. He was a four-year starter at Georgia Tech from 1998 to 2002. In his final season, he helped Georgia Tech advance to the College World Series. His coaching career began at Georgia Southern University. He was also an assistant coach at Tulane University from 2003-2004 and also spent time as an assistant coach at Duke.

Mitchell Boggs played under Pontonio from 1999-2002. He played baseball at the University of Georgia and helped the Bulldogs reach the 2004 College World Series. Boggs left Georgia his junior year to begin his professional career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Boggs broke out in 2012, having the best year of his career. He had a record of four wins and one loss with an ERA of 2.21. He also led the National League in holds with 34. He played for the Cardinals from 2008-2013, including the 2011 World Series win, and with the Colorado Rockies in 2013.

Hennon played at Dalton from 1986-1989. He played collegiately at Western Carolina, where he earned all-conference honors and helped the team to two NCAA Regional appearances. He played professionally for one season with the Kentucky Rifles before turning to coaching. He served as an assistant coach at Western Carolina for four years before ascending to the top job. After two seasons, he moved to Georgia Southern in 2000 and has remained there since. In his first two seasons with the Eagles he was named Southern Conference Baseball Coach of the Year.

After playing collegiately at Miami Dade Junior College and the University of Tennessee, Pontonio made his coaching mark at Dalton where he went 350-139 in his 20 seasons directing the Cats' baseball program. Pontonio captured region championships in 1988, 1989, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001 and his teams finished second six times. His teams appeared in four Final Fours, coming in 1988, 1989, 1997 and 1998. The Cats also reached the quarterfinals once and the Sweet 16 once under Pontonio. Pontonio was named Region 7-3A Coach of the Year and the Dalton Daily Citizen's Coach of the Year in 1988, 1989, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001. He retired from Dalton in 2004 and was named an inductee of the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame in 2008.