EMCC Lions to begin baseball season against Bishop State Sunday at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg

By: David Rosinski
By: David Rosinski

SCOOBA – Under the direction of third-year head baseball coach Chris Rose, the Lions of East Mississippi Community College will open their 2013 baseball season Sunday afternoon against Bishop State Community College in a noon doubleheader to be played at Oak Grove High School’s Harry Breland Field in Hattiesburg.

EMCC’s season-opening games, along with Tuesday’s twin bill versus Meridian Community College, were originally slated to be played in Scooba, but persistent wet field conditions around campus during the past month have delayed the completion of the outfield fence reconfiguration project at EMCC’s Gerald Poole Field. Following next weekend’s road games at Wallace CC Selma and Bishop State CC in Mobile, the Lions are scheduled to open their 2013 home baseball slate on Wednesday, Feb. 13 in a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Jones County Junior College. The three-date home stand will also feature MACJC South Division members Copiah-Lincoln CC and Pearl River CC on Feb. 19 and 23, respectively.

As the Lions prepare to visit Oak Grove High School this weekend, Sunday’s doubleheader against Bishop State will feature a homecoming of sorts for a trio of EMCC freshmen. Infielders Drew Standland and Tyler Odom as well as left-handed pitcher Hunter Floyd were senior members of last year’s 34-3 OGHS Warriors ball club that claimed the Class 6A state baseball championship.

The EMCC Lions return 13 players from last year’s 19-24 squad, including a sophomore-laden pitching staff headed by right-hander Smokey Ethridge. The former West Lauderdale High School product topped last year’s EMCC staff with a 6-2 record and 38 strikeouts in 13 pitching appearances. Also returning with at least 20 innings of mound work a year ago for the Lions are sophomore right-handers Dillon Hawkins (New Hope HS), Corbin Johnson (South Choctaw Academy) and Tyler Jones (Victory Christian Academy).

Back to also aid this year’s rotation are out-of-state standouts KC Abney (Memphis, TN) and Trent Waddell (Tuscaloosa, AL), who both received medical redshirt seasons a year ago as collegiate rookies at EMCC. Out of Northridge High School, the left-handed Waddell is expected to serve as the Lions’ everyday first baseman when he’s not on the mound.

The Lions are also counting on a pair of transfers to make a difference on the diamond in 2013. Dual-position standout Chase Reeves is on board after spending last season as a redshirt at the University of Mississippi. The talented southpaw was a three-time all-state selection at Hamilton High School before signing with the Ole Miss Rebels. A two-time Louisville Slugger All-America recipient and chosen the state’s 2011 Class 2A Player of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Coaches, Reeves batted .426 for his high school career with 34 home runs and 180 runs batted in. He also posted a 39-9 career pitching mark at Hamilton with a 1.14 ERA.

Fellow transfer Chase Cameron, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound right-hander, pitched last season at the University of Montevallo in Alabama following a notable prep career at Demopolis High School.

Leading returning hitters for East Mississippi include dual-position threat Austin Braddock, of Heritage Academy, catcher Josh Tentoni, from Columbus, and former Meridian High School product Jason Yarbor, now in his second season as an EMCC outfielder after helping lead head football coach Buddy Stephens’ Lions to a composite gridiron record of 20-2 as a two-year starter at cornerback.

Also expected to make an immediate impact on this year’s EMCC baseball club are incoming freshman outfielders LeDarious Clark and Colton Caver. After making his EMCC playing debut as a reserve running back and kick returner this past fall on the Scooba campus, Clark will now get an opportunity to demonstrate his abilities on the diamond that made him a three-time first-team Class 3A All-State baseball performer at Southeast Lauderdale High School. Caver originally signed with Jones County JC after starring at Gulfport High School.

Contact: David Rosinski, EMCC Sports Information Director
Office: (662) 476-5042; Cell: (662) 312-3585; E-mail: drosinski@eastms.edu

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