Berry set to lead 2022 EMCC baseball squad


Guided by fourth-year head baseball coach Brett Kimbrel, the 2022 EMCC baseball edition features five position players who each started 18 or more games for last year’s 18-18 team that narrowly missed qualifying for postseason play. Leading this returning quintet looks to be UAB signee Blayze Berry, who batted .324 with 12 extra-base hits as an everyday starter a year ago for the Lions. The former Heritage Academy standout has switched from second base to shortstop this sea­son.

Also returning for the Lions after registering dou­ble-digit starting assign­ments last year are Beau Bates, Zack Griffith (Mize), Wesley Sides (Southaven/DeSoto Cen­tral HS) and Trey Trosclair (D’Iberville). Bates, an out­fielder from Caledonia, hit .295 last season with five home runs and six doubles as a 28-game starter for EMCC.

Other returning position players for EMCC include infielders Austin Garrison (Gulfport) and Drew Brown (Columbus/New Hope HS), as well as outfielders Johnny Setchfield (Olive Branch) and Jackson Siler (Southaven/DeSoto Cen­tral HS). Catcher David Dickerson (Booneville/New Site HS) is also back in the mix for the Lions.

An expected strength of this year’s EMCC squad appears to be with its pitching depth. On the mound, the Lions will look to returning ace Cade Davis to again lead the way. The 6-foot-6 right-hander, out of Ripley, was a staff-best 6-3 with a team-leading 45 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched last year as a freshman.

Also back for the Lions on the mound from a year ago will be Mississippi Col­lege signee Gabe Garner (Madison/Germantown HS), Jonah Caskey (West Point/Oak Hill Academy), Dakota Boney (Toom­suba/Southeast Laud­erdale HS), Jonah Posey (Southaven), and Halen Sanford (Sumrall). Perhaps EMCC’s most notable im­provement on the bump from last season has been sophomore right-hander Kylan Stepter, out of Her­nando, who has commit­ted to South Alabama.

The Lions will look to also benefit from the addition of transfers Hunter French (Southaven/DeSoto Cen­tral HS) and Kade Shannon (Hattiesburg/Oak Grove HS) from Jones College as well as pitchers Parker Wood (Meridian/Southeast Lauderdale HS) and Grant Johnson (Hernando) from Holmes and East Central, respectively. French, a cen­ter fielder who played briefly for Mississippi State in 2020, batted .292 with 24 RBIs and 12 stolen bases last year for the JC Bobcats.

Highlighting another tal­ented class of high school signees for the Lions figure to be out-of-state position players Coby Holmes (Sar­aland, AL) and Ethan Medlin (Lake Charles, LA/Barbe HS), along with pitchers Andrew Lewis (Snellville, GA/Winder-Bar­row HS) and Blake Wren (Lake Charles, LA/Barbe HS). In-state recruits join­ing this year’s EMCC roster as freshmen are Zac Butler (New Hope), Jackson Cook (New Albany/South Pontotoc HS), Will Craw­ford (Corinth), Ian Dillon (Saltillo), Hayden Fortune (Ripley), Carson Gault (New Albany), Will Martin (Philadelphia/Leake Acad­emy), Braxton Miller (Olive Branch/Center Hill HS), Parker Rushing (Corinth/Alcorn Central HS), and Ryan Wood (Grenada).

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