Picayune’s Lee leads Rebels

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ole Miss begins play in the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament today at Hoover-Met Stadium just outside of Birmingham.

And, like he has done just about all season, Picayune’s Braxton Lee will lead the way for the Rebels.

Lee is a junior leftfielder that arrived in Oxford after a stellar career at both Picayune High and Pearl River Community College. He has started 55 of 56 games, most as the Rebels leadoff hitter, batting .295 (66-for-224) with seven doubles, 21 runs batted in, 48 runs scored and a team-best 28 steals.

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The Rebels won the SEC West title and open conference tournament play this afternoon against either Arkansas or Texas A&M.

Lee’s has combined with another pair of first year Rebels to form one of the top outfield units in the SEC.

Teammate J.B. Woodman, the rightfielder, was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday.

Woodman, an Orlando, Fla., native, helped the Rebels win two of three at Texas A&M over the weekend to clinch the SEC Westt and the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament. He drove in the game-tying run and scored the game winning run in victories both Thursday and Friday, and added a two-run triple in Saturday’s loss.

For the season, Woodman is batting .336 (43-for-128) with seven doubles, three triples, two homers, 16 RBIs and 10 steals.

Also, Rebel centerfielder Auston Bousfield won the C Spire Ferriss Trophy on Monday afternoon. The annual award is given to the best collegiate baseball player in the state of Mississippi.

He’s the first Ole Miss player to win the award since pitcher Drew Pomeranz in 2010.

“There’s really not a weak spot in his game,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “When you look at the whole package, that’s the reason he won the award. He’s not just a home run hitter, and he’s not just a fast guy with a good batting average. He’s a guy who does it all.”

Bousfield hit .353 during the regular season with five homers and 45 RBIs, helping the Rebels win the Southeastern Conference Western Division title. He also stole 16 bases and made only one error while starting every game in center field.

Bousfield, a native of Oakland, Florida, has usually hit second in an Ole Miss lineup behind Lee that also includes veterans Will Allen, Austin Anderson and Sikes Orvis behind him. The Rebels are batting .304 as a team, which is tied with Kentucky for tops in the SEC.

“There are a ton of guys who have done a lot to help us win,” Bousfield said. “It takes everybody on the team and it helps having those guys behind me.”

The other finalists were Ole Miss pitcher Chris Ellis, Mississippi State pitchers Ross Mitchell and Jacob Lindgren and Belhaven first baseman/pitcher Tyler Akins.

A panel of 24 Major League Baseball scouts and college coaches account for 90 percent of the final vote. Ten percent comes from fan voting.