January 31, 2013
ECCC Diamond Warriors Strive for Success in 2013
As is the case each year, East Central Community College head baseball coach Neal Holliman expects his Diamond Warriors to “maximize their potential” as individuals and as a team during the 2013 campaign.
His approach to each season has obviously been successful for the seventh-year head coach, who sports a 168-138 record, which includes a state championship his first year at the helm. The 2012 squad qualified for post-season play and finished with a 25-23 mark.
Although he stopped short of predicting another championship season, Holliman said he is pleased with the talent and attitude of the 2013 version of Diamond Warrior baseball.
“I have consistently been impressed with the type people and talent we have on this year’s squad,’ said Holliman. “We have a lot of positive attributes….and we anticipate another quality season.”
Holliman said his team’s athleticism and depth are among the top “attributes” as the season opener nears with Southwest Tenn. Community College, scheduled Saturday, Feb. 9 on the Decatur campus. The non-division doubleheader gets under way at 2 p.m. at the Clark/Gay Baseball Complex.
“As with any team, there is room for improvement in many areas, but our depth should be an asset for us as the season unfolds,” Holliman said. “Our athleticism is a positive as well as our depth on the mound. We have shown the ability to consistently play defense, but there are several areas to improve upon in order to achieve our maximum potential.”
Along with the annual theme (and goal) of “Maximizing Our Potential,” Holliman said the team motto of “Everything Counts” also represents the type team he puts on the field each season.
“The team motto encompasses our whole program in the fact that we desire an athlete who is serious about his character, academics and enhancing his athletic ability,” said Holliman.
Each year’s squad also “adopts” an annual slogan submitted and voted on by the players. Holliman said this year’s winning entry is “If You Want Something You’ve Never Had; You Have To Do Something You’ve Never Done,” from sophomore catcher/infielder/outfielder Kyle Henson of Starkville Academy.
If the fall campaign is an indicator for success, this year’s Diamond Warriors may be poised to reach levels previously not attained…and challenged by Henson’s theme.
“Overall, the fall was productive,” said Holliman. “Success makes you hungry for more….or either you become complacent….obviously we hope our guys are hungry for more….and will become the best they can be this season.”
Expected to lead EC to another successful season are numerous returnees.
At the top of the list is shortstop Tim Anderson, a product of Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa. Anderson was named All-Region 23 and MACJC All-State in 2012 and was also chosen the Diamond Warriors’ most valuable player. He received the same honor following competition last summer in the Kansas Jayhawk League, which also rated him as a top major league baseball prospect. He earlier signed a national letter of intent with the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Fernando Gonzalez is a right-handed hurler from Puerto Rico, who is described by Holliman as one of the leaders on the pitching staff. “Fernando has continually gotten stronger and has improved his off-speed pitches as well as his velocity,” Holliman said.
Xavier Franklin is outfielder and product of Newton County High School, who received most valuable player honors following participation in the Cotton State Wooden Bat League. “Xavier has the ability to play right or left field and provide some ‘pop’ in the middle of the lineup,” said Holliman.
Kalik May is an infielder/outfielder who hails from Tuscaloosa County High School. Holliman said May is “very athletic and versatile as a defender” and is also a switch-hitter “with good strength and speed which allows us great opportunities throughout the line-up.”
Kyle Henson of Starkville Academy plays multiple positions and is a left-handed hitter who is described by Holliman as “another athletic player with tremendous opportunity to be an impact player.”
Rubert Alcantara plays first and third base and is a Dominican Republic native. “Rubert continues to improve as a player….we expect him to hit in the middle of the line-up and provide stability.”
Sevy Signa is a right-handed pitcher from Deer Creek High School. “Sevy has tremendous upside on the mound and continues to grow into his ability,” said Holliman. Signa plans to continue his career at the University of West Alabama.
Jordan Mixon is a catcher/third baseman/right-handed pitcher from East Webster High School. “Jordan is very versatile and a hard competitor who has the ability to help us in many ways,” said Holliman.
Other returnees include right-handed pitchers Robert Greer of Neshoba Central, Blake Dubuisson of Long Beach, Mitchell Wooten of Edinburg and left-handed hurlers Caleb McKee of Neshoba Central and Brady McBride of Northeast Lauderdale.
“All five will be looked upon to provide quality innings,” said Holliman. “Dubuisson has become very consistent, and we are excited to have Wooten and McKee return from injuries and missing the 2012 season.”
Holliman said McBride is a “very valuable transfer who adds depth and pitchability from the left side.” He noted Greer is recovering from an injury and “is progressing well.”
He also mentioned outfielders Ryan Shotts of Louisville and Terrance Steele of Neshoba Central.
“Terrance continues as one of the best base stealers in the conference and Ryan is finally healthy after missing 40-plus games in 2012 and has the ability as a runner and strength with the bat,” Holliman said.
The Diamond Warrior head mentor said the freshmen players are a “very solid group.”
“Maxwell Harmon in an infielder/outfielder from Enterprise who continues to improve and be consistent….he is also a very good defender who is developing as a hitter. Mason Woodrow, Conner West (both of Taylorsville) and Ty Hendrix (of East Webster) are just some of the right-handed pitchers who will be quality assets for us on the mound. John Morgan Berry (of Madison Central) is another quality addition as a first baseman/left fielder and has the ability to hit in the middle of the line-up. He is also a quality defender.”
Holliman also had praise for outfielder/catcher Chase Domino of Fairhope, Ala., whom he described as an “athletic and versatile” player who provides much-needed power in the middle line-up.
Holliman added he could list “positive attributes” about each player…“and that is why we feel depth is a quality of this year’s team.”
As he prepares for the season to get under way, Holliman said fans can expect another competitive brand of community college baseball.
“Not only do I think we have another tough schedule for the upcoming 2013 season, but we feel this will be as well-coached opponents as we have ever played,” he stated. “Our league continues to grow and there are a lot of quality coaches and teams that are working extremely hard, so the differences between each team come down to crucial moments in each game.”
Returning as Holliman’s assistant coaches are Justin Brewer and Jack Edmonson.
Slater Lott of Clarkdale serves as a student assistant. Managers are Corey Jackson and Jeremy Card, both of Nanih Waiya, and Ian Creeman of Enterprise.
Colton Hurst of Newton County is the public address announcer for home games.
For more information on the ECCC Baseball program, contact Coach Neal Holliman, 601-635-6374 or call toll free, 877-462-3222, ext. 374. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vice President for Public Information
East Central Community College
P.O. Box 129
Decatur, MS 39327
Toll Free 877-462-3222, ext. 242