Local baseball players receive recognition for their performances

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The cancellation of spring sports in Mississippi shattered any sense of normalcy for high school athletes, but local coaches are working to try and regain some spring routines.

Several baseball coaches have gathered to recognize players for their performances during the shortened baseball season.

Normally All-District teams would be announced after the state champion is decided, but due to this year’s shortened season local coaches decided to form a list anyway, said Neil Walther Head Coach of the baseball program at Pearl River Central.

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Coaches from Picayune, Pearl River Central, Long Beach and Hattiesburg got together and produced a list of four players from their respective school, naming them all district players.

Mason Treat from PRC was named the all district player of the year. Poplarville created a similar list, which included four Hornet players.

The nominated players are as follows:

Pearl River Central – Senior shortstop Mason Treat, senior pitcher Austin Diebold, junior outfielder Brock Craft and junior third baseman Ethan Songy.

Picayune – Senior pitcher Trey Wells, senior pitcher and outfielder Luke Smith, senior second baseman Chad Dudenhefer and senior catcher Kade Turnage.

Hattiesburg – Senior pitcher and first baseman Jerry Burkett, senior shortstop Caleb Tart, senior outfielder Jamal Donaldson and junior first baseman Jermel Ford.

Long Beach – Senior catcher Dalton Cook, senior pitcher and third baseman Kobe Cook, senior pitcher Ethan Nichols, junior shortstop Brent Garner.

Poplarville – Senior shortstop Blaise Breerwood, senior third baseman Brady Tynes, junior pitcher and outfielder Jordan Belsome and junior pitcher and second baseman Quentin Baker.

PRC’s Head Coach Neil Walther said Hattiesburg’s coach got in touch with him to create the list as a way to recognize the work the players put in prior to and during the season.

Walther said he was unsure at first about naming the players since no district games had taken place, but after discussion decided it was a good way to honor the players.

Now the athletes at least have some sort of recognition for the time spent preparing for the season.

“I’m glad we were able to do something for them, as small as it is, just to honor them. It was hard to just choose four,” Picayune’s Head Coach Evan Nichelson said.

Poplarville’s Head Coach Slade Jones agreed that it was hard to put a list together.

Jones said he felt like he had six to seven athletes who could’ve been nominated based on their performances during the shortened season.

Getting the nomination doesn’t make up for a shortened season and the coaches understand that.

However, the hope was to give something positive to the players and Walther said the community responded with an outpouring of support for the nominated athletes.

“They’re just so happy for (them). I’m sure all those seniors (appreciate it). I know there are some juniors who made it, but we’ve never had this many seniors make a list,” Walther said.