EMCC’s Berry, Medlin take All-MACCC baseball honors
As one of the most valuable two-way players in the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference this season, East Mississippi Community College’s Blayze Berry has been selected first-team pitcher and second-team utility player on the 2022 All-MACCC Baseball Team. The honors were announced Monday by the MACCC office after being voted on by the conference’s head baseball coaches.
EMCC freshman outfielder Ethan Medlin also received second-team honors for head coach Brett Kimbrel’s 28-19 EMCC squad that finished third in the MACCC regular-season standings with a 20-8 conference mark and advanced to the NJCAA Region 23 Baseball Tournament for the first team since the 2015 season.
Berry, a UAB signee, led EMCC’s pitching staff in wins (7), strikeouts (60), saves (3), complete games (7) and innings pitched (68.2). In addition to his team-best 7-1 record this season, Berry also posted a 2.75 earned run average and only walked 11 batters in 68 2/3 innings of work. In addition, opponents only hit .210 against the sophomore right-hander.
At the plate this past year as EMCC’s starting shortstop when not pitching, Berry batted .333 with a team-high 57 hits, including seven home runs, while ranking second on the team in runs batted in (37), runs scored (41), doubles (7), extra-base hits (15), total bases (87), and stolen bases (11).
A product of Columbus’ Heritage Academy, Berry previously received honorable mention all-conference recognition as a freshman second baseman/pitcher a year ago for EMCC. Berry led the 2021 Lions with his .460 on-base percentage and ranked second behind current ULM junior Austin Beech by hitting .324 on the year. Along with his team-high seven doubles and club-most 25 walks, Berry hit four home runs with 24 RBIs and 22 runs scored.
As a freshman pitcher for the Lions, Berry made nine appearances on the mound with 31 strikeouts and only eight walks in 22 innings of work. With a win and a save a season ago, he made his collegiate debut by earning MACCC Pitcher of the Week honors after helping lead the 2021 Lions to season-opening wins over Itawamba and Northeast Mississippi.
During his prep playing days, Berry collected Midsouth Association of Independent Schools Class AAA Player of the Year honors as a junior after helping lead the Heritage Patriots to the 2019 MAIS Class AAA state championship. Prior to the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Berry was a Clarion Ledger Dandy Dozen preseason selection and was rated among the top 10 of Prep Baseball Report’s Mississippi 2020 state rankings.
Medlin, out of Lake Charles, La., led this year’s EMCC club with his .495 on-base percentage and ranked second on the team behind Mississippi College signee Wesley Sides in batting average (.336) as the Lions’ leadoff hitter. Along with getting hit by a pitch a team-most 20 times and ranking second on the club with 26 walks and 41 runs scored on the year, Medlin totaled five homers, six doubles, 26 RBIs and eight stolen bases.
At the prep level, Medlin was tabbed All-District 3-5A Honorable Mention in helping lead the 39-2 Barbe High School Buccaneers to the 2021 LHSAA Class 5A state championship and the No. 1 spot in the final MaxPreps Top 25 High School Baseball Rankings.
Both the 15-member first and second teams of this year’s All-MACCC Baseball Team were comprised of four infielders, four outfielders, four pitchers, one catcher and two utility players.
In addition, individual conference awards went to Pearl River’s Mike Avalon for MACCC Coach of the Year as well as to Northwest Mississippi’s Ryan Lee for MACCC Player of the Year and Northeast Mississippi’s Colby Holcombe for MACCC Pitcher of the Year.