Hinton sparkles on diamond; receives Mr. Baseball honors

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 6, 2006

On an off the field, Brookhaven’s Brandt Hinton is anexceptional person. His pitching skills on the diamond rank himamong the best in Mississippi. At the plate, he can swing the batwith authority.

Hinton’s contributions to Brookhaven’s success this season haveearned him the title of Mr. Baseball on The DAILY LEADER’s 2006All-Lincoln County Baseball Team. He has signed a scholarship withCopiah-Lincoln Community College.

Two more special awards went to Brookhaven Academy outfielderPaul Davis, the DL’s Most Valuable Offensive Player; and Loyd Starcatcher Tyler Williford, the Most Valuable Defensive Player.

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Hinton is joined on the All-County pitching staff by PatrickHolcomb of Loyd Star and Josh Coone of Brookhaven. Catchers includeWilliford, Mitch Pappas of Brookhaven and Matt Floyd ofEnterprise.

Infielders are Jeremy Winborne of Brookhaven Academy, ElliottWarren and Cole Newell of Brookhaven, and Mason Douglas of WestLincoln.

Outfielders are Brent Fielder and Michael Britt of Loyd Star,and Keith Franklin and Davis of Brookhaven Academy.

Designated hitters are Garion Crockett of Brookhaven and CoreyDickerson of Brookhaven Academy. Utility players are Zach Watsonand Paxton King of Brookhaven.

The Dream Team was selected by DL sports department writers,with input provided by high school and college coaches.

Brandt Hinton (6-5, 190) compiled a 7-1 recordthis season. He recorded 62 strikeouts and just 6 walks, compilingan impressive 0.44 ERA in 47 innings.

The lanky right-hander sizes up batters with piercing blue eyes.He uses a fastball, curveball and changeup to baffle opposingbatters. He used a Nokona glove.

“I like being in control of the game,” said Hinton, when askedabout his pitching performance. “Our team played great this year.But I’m a little disappointed by how it ended,” with narrowback-to-back losses in the Lawrence County Regional.

Asked about his pitching, Hinton said, “Every batter I face istough. You can’t slack up. You have to approach every batter likethey are the best.”

Hinton said he likes to work the corners of the plate. “I throwmostly away form the batters on the outside corner. Sometimes wethrow inside.”

Hinton and his teammates posted a 23-7 record, the most wins ina regular season. He was among four seniors who were members of the2004 Class 4A state championship squad. He punted for Ole Brook’s2004 state football championship team. He also is a member of theBHS golf team.

“Brandt is an exceptional pitcher,” said Ole Brook head baseballcoach Randy Spring. “I can’t remember a game he pitched in hiscareer that he didn’t give us a chance to win. Consistently, gamein and game out, he is the best pitcher I’ve worked with here

“He’s a pressure-type player,” Spring pointed out. “When it gotcrunch time, he got better. Brandt has a chance to be really goodat the next level.”

During the last two weeks of the season, Hinton’s battingaverage climbed, too. He batted .420, according to Spring. Hintonfinished with a .324 batting average, accounting for 3 homers and17 RBIs.

In the classroom, Hinton maintained a 3.8 GPA. That earned himOle Brook’s Scholastic Award. He plans to major in business incollege.

Hinton said pitching coaches Eric Stokes (2006) and JaymiePalmer (2004-05) helped him improve his pitching skills. “CoachStokes and Coach Palmer helped me a lot.”

Hinton said he learned a lot from Coach Spring. “He taught aboutlife’s lessons, on and off the field.”

Tyler Williford (6-1, 160) is an all-aroundathlete. He helped lead the Hornets to a 14-7 record. They werethird in the Division 6-2A race but finished strong, winning theSt. Andrew’s Regional. They lost to eventual state championTaylorsville in the next round of the state playoffs.

Loyd Star coach Jonathan Breakfield said Williford is anoutstanding player. “Tyler had a good year for us. He’s a greatdefensive catcher. All around, he had a great year.”

Williford’s all-around athletic skills rank him among the bestathletes Loyd Star has ever produced. He played quarterback infootball and was a standout guard in basketball, earning MVP honorson the DL’s 2005-06 All-Lincoln County Basketball Team.

“Tyler has great hands,” said Breakfield. “He receives the balland he has quick feet. He also has a really good arm.”

Williford also was recognized as one of Loyd Star’s top hitters,earning him MVP honors at the school’s athletic banquet. He had 20RBIs. He has signed a scholarship with Co-Lin.

On the mound, Williford fashioned a 4-3 record. He had a 0.51ERA, striking out 54 batters and walking 12 in 35 innings.

Paul Davis (6-3, 190), another exceptionalathlete, was a 2-sport star as a senior, working at linebacker forBA’s football team. In baseball, Davis flexed his muscles andslugged 11 home runs, achieving a .590 batting average. He had 49hits, including 154 doubles and 2 triples, accounting for 48RBIs.

“Paul did a great job for us,” said BA coach Stephen Cooksey. Hehas signed a scholarship with Co-Lin.

On the mound, Davis compiled a 7-1 record, helping lead theCougars to the District 4-AA championship and the second round ofthe state playoffs. In 48 innings, he fanned 42 batters and walked23, compiling a 2.32 ERA.

Patrick Holcomb, a senior at Loyd Star,anchored the staff. He compiled a 6-2 record and a 0.42 ERA. Hestruck out 67 batters and walked 22.

Josh Coone, a Brookhaven junior, went 5-3 thisseason, including a perfect game in the Panthers’ season opener.For the season, he struck out 66 batters and walked 14 in 48innings.

Mitch Pappas, a junior, directed the Panthersfrom behind the plate. He compiled a .364 batting average, plus 30RBIs and 4 homers.

Matt Floyd, a senior, led Enterprise to theClass 1A state playoffs as the No. 3 team out of Division 7. Hebatted .351 for first-year head coach Seth Lofton. He hit 5 homersand collected 24 RBIs.

Jeremy Winborne, a senior, anchored the BAinfield at shortstop. He batted .365, with 2 homers and 22 RBIs. Hewas 6-for-6 in stolen bases.

Elliot Warren, a junior, starred at shortstopfor the Ole Brook Panthers. He batted .373, with 15 RBIs.

Mason Douglas, a senior, led the West LincolnBears to the state playoffs as the No. 4 team out of Division 7-1A.He batted .483 for first-year head coach Keith Cline and hit 5homers.

Cole Newell, a junior, batted .476 for thePanthers. He had 20 RBIs and 2 homers. On the mound, he fashioned a5-0 record.

Keith Franklin, a junior, batted .444 for theCougars. He had 27 RBIs and hit 3 homers.

Michael Britt, a senior, batted 481 for theHornets. He accounted for 28 RBIs and 4 homers.

Brent Fielder, a senior, starred for Loyd Starand collected 24 RBIs. He hit 2 homers and batted .476.

Garion Crockett, a senior, batted .372 for thePanthers. He hit 6 homers, 9 doubles and had 32 RBIs.

Corey Dickerson, a sophomore, batted .527 forthe Cougars. He hit 11 homers and collected 50 RBIs.

Zach Watson, a junior, led off for the Panthersand batted .375, scoring 22 runs. On the mound, he was 3-0.

Paxton King, a sophomore southpaw, posted a 3-2pitching record, striking out 63 batters and walking 10 in 40innings. At the plate, he batted .384, with 19 RBIs.