MVP Perkins provides plenty of punch

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 20, 2005

Darius Perkins is a man for all seasons. The 6-foot-3, 250-poundoutfielder led Brookhaven to the state baseball playoffs in a majorrebuilding year after the Panthers won the Class 4A statechampionship in 2004.

Last fall, Perkins starred at linebacker for the Ole BrookPanthers, helping them win a football state championship.

Perkins was one of only two returning starters this season asBHS head baseball coach Randy Spring launched a massive rebuildingcampaign. Perkins batted .453 and hit 6 homers. He also pitched,compiling a 3-3 record. He played well as a center fielder,too.

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Recognizing his overall performance, Perkins has been named Mr.Baseball and Most Valuable Player on The DAILY LEADER’s 2005All-Lincoln County Baseball Team.

Two more special awards went to local players. Loyd Star catcherTyler Williford is recognized as Offensive Player of the Year. ColeHodges of Brookhaven Academy is the Defensive Player of theYear.

Also on the DL’s Dream Team are pitchers Corey Dickerson ofBrookhaven Academy, Brandt Hinton of Brookhaven and Jarred Rogersof Loyd Star.

Other catchers are Grant McDonnieal and Mitch Pappas ofBrookhaven.

The infielders also include Elliott Warren of Brookhaven, MasonDouglas of West Lincoln, Jeremy Winborne of Brookhaven Academy andChristopher Hester of Loyd Star.

Perkins is joined in the outfield by Paul Davis of BrookhavenAcademy, Michael Britt of Loyd Star and Marlon Dixon ofBrookhaven.

Garion Crockett of Brookhaven is the team’s designated hitter.Utility players are Joseph Hart of Bogue Chitto and Trey Allred ofBrookhaven Academy.

The Dream Team was selected by DL sports staff members, withinput provided by area community college coaches.

At 18 years of age, Perkins doesn’t celebrate his 19th birthdayuntil Nov. 7. He has signed a football scholarship withNorthwestern (La.) State University. He hopes to play baseball incollege, too.

At the plate, Perkins uses an Easton Connection SC Triple 8 bat.It weighs 32 ounces and he likes to swing.

“If (pitch) is near the plate, I swing,” said Perkins. “I don’tprefer a curve or fastball.”

He hit 6 homers this season and credits his improvement withadditional time working in the weight room. He benches 305 poundsand squats with 450.

“I love football but everybody tells me I’m better at baseball,”said Perkins. “Pitching is all right but I prefer theoutfield.”

He is the son of Djuana Perkins and Rico Cameron.

Brookhaven head coach Randy Spring said Perkins has made manyimprovements this season. “Darius is one of those guys who wasblessed with the ability to put the bat on the ball. There are someguys you can’t strike out.

“With his strength and ability to put the bat on the ball, thatmade him a threat every time he made a swing,” Spring added. “Hehit the ball to all fields. For a big kid, he can run prettywell.”

Spring said Perkins has received some interest from the MajorLeague Baseball level, especially the Atlanta Braves. “He’s as gooda baseball player as I’ve coached in high school. Hopefully, he’llget another opportunity at the college level to play baseball.”

Perkins was a leader on Brookhaven’s state football and baseballchampionship squads. Spring said Perkins is a gifted athlete. “Inmy opinion, I think Darius was underrated as an all-around athletein the state. He was state champion in baseball and football.”

Hodges (6-0, 195), a 3-sport standout, has signed a baseballscholarship with Copiah-Lincoln Community College. A right-hander,he pitched and played shortstop for the Cougars who advanced to theAA state playoffs.

Hodges only made 4 errors this season. He batted .367 andcompiled a 6-4 pitching record for BA head coach StephenCooksey.

“Cole is a great leader for our team,” said Cooksey. “He canpitch, hit and play great defense. His defensive skills areexceptional. He has done a lot of work to get better.”

Hodges said he was looking forward to playing for the Co-LinWolves who won regional and super regional championships. Co-Linfinished fourth in the NJCAA Division II World Series inMillington, Tenn.

“I like middle infield, either shortstop or second base,” saidHodges. He was an all-district running back in football and wasnamed Mr. Basketball on the DL’s 2005 All-Lincoln County BasketballTeam. He also made the all-county football team.

Williford (5-11, 160) is another 2-sport star, excelling inbasketball and baseball as a junior. He batted .404 this season,driving in 19 runs, hitting 10 doubles and 1 homer.

“I love playing catcher,” said Williford. “Every pitch you arein the game.”

Loyd Star won its fourth straight Division 6-2A crown, led byrookie head coach Jonathan Breakfield. The Hornets lost in thestate semifinals to Gulfport St. John.

“We had new coaches come in and they made baseball real fun,”said Williford. “Everybody played together.”

An honor roll student, Williford also was named to the DL’sAll-Lincoln County Basketball Team. He’s an exceptional shooterfrom 3-point range.

“Tyler is a gutsy kind of guy,” said Breakfield. “He’s tough,both mentally and physically. He was at a new position this year.He had been a shortstop all of his life. He was a blessing atcatcher, working back there. He handled our pitchers realwell.”

“I think catcher helped him at the plate,” noted Breakfield. “Heraised his average 150 points.”

Williford had a .545 slugging percentage and a .464 on-basepercentage.

Also used as a pitcher, Williford compiled a 2-1 record on themound.

Corey Dickerson, a freshman, compiled a 7-1 record for theCougars who were runners-up in District 4-AA. They improved theirrecord from 6-18 to 18-6 in one season.

Brandt Hinton, a junior, posted a 7-3 record for the Panthers.He struck out 68 batters and walked 9, compiling 1.53 ERA.

Jarred Rogers, a sophomore, fashioned an 8-1 record for theHornets. He had a 2.39 ERA with 53 strikeouts.

Grant McDonnieal, a senior, worked at catcher and first basethis season. He batted .326 for the Panthers.

Mitch Pappas, a sophomore, batted .295 for the Panthers.

Elliott Warren, a sophomore, batted .310 for the Panthers.

Mason Douglas, a junior, batted .453 for Coach Keith Cline’sWest Lincoln Bears. He hit 4 homers.

Jeremy Winborne, a junior, batted .375 for the Cougars.

Christopher Hester, a senior, batted .306 for the Hornets.

Paul Davis, a junior, batted .348 for the Cougars and hit 6homers.

Marlon Dixon, a junior, batted .333 for the Panthers and stole14 bases.

Michael Britt, a junior, batted .409 for Loyd Star.

Garion Crockett, a junior, batted .396 for the Panthers andslugged 7 homers.

Joseph Hart, a junior, batted .357 for Coach Adam Moak’sBobcats.

Trey Allred, a senior, batted .369 for the Cougars.