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Banquet honors BHS baseball

Senior pitcher Brandt Hinton almost needed a wheelbarrow to takehome his numerous awards Thursday night at the Brookhaven BaseballBanquet. The Ole Brook right-hander received the Panther Award,Best Pitcher, Scholastic, and Team Captain Awards.

Recognized as Co-Most Valuable Players were sophomorepitcher/utility fielder Paxton King and junior pitcher/thirdbaseman Cole Newell. Other individual awards went to Marlon Dixon,Team Captain; Garion Crockett and Mitch Pappas, Best OffensivePlayer; Zach Watson, Best Defensive Player; Elliot Warren, Mr.Hustle; and Josh Coone, Most Improved.

Ole Brook head coach Randy Spring recognized the four Pantherseniors: Hinton, Crockett, Dixon and T.J. Qualls for theirleadership and accomplishments. In three years, they helped win 93games and a Class 4A state championship in 2004. Spring presentedthe seniors with their game jerseys.

Looking at the recently completed 23-7 campaign, Spring said,”Most teams would be celebrating that record. But we weren’tsatisfied, especially the way it ended,” with narrow, back-to-backlosses in the Lawrence County Regional.

Spring said the 23 regular-season wins was a school record. ThePanthers boasted a .369 team batting average and hit 20 home runs.Seven players batted over .300.

“We had 80 batters hit by pitches,” said Spring. “That’s anotherschool record. Our pitchers had the lowest walk total and thehighest strikeout total since I’ve been here.”

Spring is concluding his seventh year at the helm of Pantherbaseball fortunes. He thanked the Diamond Club officers: presidentBrooks Warren, vice president Ronnie Watson and secretary/treasurerMary Helen Miller for their efforts. He also thanked scoreboardoperator Terry Pappas and public address announcer Jake Patrick fortheir contributions to the program.

The Panther Diamond Girls, a.k.a. stat keepers, were recognizedand complimented for their conscientious work. Spring thanked hisassistant coaches; Eric Stokes, Dustin Lott and Dwayne Oberschmidtfor their contributions to the team’s success. He also thanked thecoaches’ wives and children for their patience and sacrifice duringthe long season.

“I want to thank BHS principal Susan Chapman and superintendentLea Barrett for being very supportive of our baseball program,”said Spring. “Many school systems don’t provide the type of supportour athletic program enjoys.”

In another achievement, the Mississippi High School ActivitiesAssociation recognized the Ole Brook varsity team with itsScholar/Athlete Award for maintaining a cumulative 3.O grade pointaverage.

The Panthers finished third in the Division 6-4A race behindLawrence County and Terry. Hinton, King and Newell were selected tothe All-Division First Team. Honorable mention went to Crockett,Pappas, Watson, Warren, Coone and Cody Ratcliff.

Coach Spring’s father, A.J. Spring, delivered the closingbenediction prayer. Junior outfielder R.J. Jenkins opened thebuffet dinner at the Country Fisherman with an invocation andblessing of the meal.