DAILY LEADER / SHERYLYN EVANS / Corey Dickerson (left) proudly holds his retired high school jersey along with BA head baseball Coach Casey Edwards during a special ceremony Friday night at John R. Gray Gymnasium.
DAILY LEADER / SHERYLYN EVANS / Corey Dickerson (left) proudly holds his retired high school jersey along with BA head baseball Coach Casey Edwards during a special ceremony Friday night at John R. Gray Gymnasium.

BA honors Dickerson with a special ceremony

Published 3:00am Sunday, February 2, 2014

Corey Dickerson was all smiles Friday night inside John R. Gray Gymnasium as Brookhaven Academy honored the current Colorado Rockies outfielder by retiring his famed Number ’3′ jersey.

“It’s an honor and pretty awesome,” said Dickerson about the ceremony. “Just knowing that my jersey will always be there is really special and means a lot to me. I had some great memories wearing this jersey and playing at BA.”

Dickerson, who reports to Spring Training next week in Scottsdale, Ariz. was happy to see family and longtime friends at the event. He was a 3-sport star at BA, in football, basketball and baseball before going on to Meridian Community College on a full baseball scholarship.

“Corey’s a class act,” said Brookhaven Academy head baseball coach Casey Edwards. “He’s a Major Leaguer and a great person that is always around helping our kids and others in the area get better at the game of baseball.”

Dickerson still holds several records at BA, including career home runs at 45 and single season marks with a .591 batting average, 15 home runs, and 55 RBIs in 2008 as a senior.

“He’s always been able to hit for power and for contact,” said Dickerson’s high school coach at BA, Stephen Cooksey. “Corey’s just a natural pure hitter. He’s hit at every level and he’s always worked hard at getting better at it.”

Cooksey said he remembers several things about Dickerson’s athletic ability. One memory still stands out to him.

“It was a couple weeks after he graduated BA, the New York Mets called me and wanted to have a pre-draft workout to see some players around the area,” said Cooksey. “So they (Mets Scouts) came down to BA and they wanted to know more about Corey and the stats he put up his senior season.

I remember after the first ball he hit the two Mets scouts came over to me and smiled. Then they asked Corey to go ‘Opp’ (opposite field) and their eyes just lit up. Every ball he hit their eyes just kept getting bigger and bigger. It was quite the sight that day watching him hit balls over the scoreboard and making dents in the roof of the indoor facility in right field. He was indeed in a zone.”

During his BA career, Dickerson stayed in the zone. He added to his legend in college by becoming an All-American at MCC. The Colorado Rockies took notice and drafted him not once but twice. In the 29th round in 2009, and in the 8th round in 2010.

“When I got drafted the second time I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” said Dickerson. “I had a scholarship to Mississippi State, but deep down I knew I wanted to play pro ball. So I signed and I guess the rest is history.”

It took Dickerson only three years to climb through five levels of minor league baseball to reach the Major Leagues. Just like he crafted at BA, hitting got him there.”

He set Single-A marks in 2011 with 32 home runs in Asheville, and hit .389 in Triple-A Colorado Springs last year before the Rockies called him up last June. Currently he’s projected to be the Rockies starting left fielder and leadoff batter this Spring.

“I’ll report next week a little early to get in there and start working out and hitting,” said Dickerson. “Baseball is a 24-7 game, you’ve got to always be working at it.”

In Saturday’s kids camp at BA, Dickerson helped youngsters from Jackson to McComb get better at the game.

“I really liked working with Corey,” said Hazlehurst senior Jarvis Warner. “He showed me a few things about hitting and how to elevate my swing to get more hits.”

For Dickerson giving back is only part of it, and for Brookhaven Academy retiring his jersey was just a small token of the appreciation the school and the community has for its hometown MLB hero.

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