Banquet honors baseball Panthers

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pitcher Paxton King was named Most Valuable Player on theBrookhaven baseball team Monday night, earning the MVP award for asecond consecutive year. The senior southpaw, a Southern Misssignee, also received the Best Pitcher, Panther and Academic Awardsduring the banquet held at Rusty’s Family Restaurant.

King compiled an 8-1 record his senior season, sparking thePanthers to a 25-8 record and the Division 6-4A championship. Theyadvanced to the second round of the state playoffs.

On the mound, King compiled a 1.22 ERA. In 57 innings, he struckout 83 batters, walked 22 and allowed 44 hits.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

At the plate, King batted .404 and accounted for 33 RBIs. He waschosen MVP on the All-Division 6-4A Team. He will represent BHS inthe Mississippi High School All-Star Game June 7, in Jackson.

“Paxton has been a great leader for us,” said BHS coach RandySpring. “Every day he did what he was supposed to do. He led byexample.”

Spring, in his eighth year at the helm, thanked the school’sadministration for their support. He recognized retiring BHSprincipal Susan Chapman for her encouragement and support of histeam.

Diamond Club officers: president Dennis Valentine, vicepresident Stan Patrick, and treasurer Don Britt also receivedspecial praise from Spring. He also thanked BHS athletic directorTucker Peavey for his leadership and organization.

Spring said the continuity of his coaching staff had a positiveinfluence on his team. He thanked assistants Dwayne Oberschmidt,Eric Stokes and Dustin Lott for their dedication. He also thankedtheir wives for their support and his own wife, Amy.

Looking back on the season, Spring said, “We had a good core ofplayers coming back. Everything we needed to have a good seasonhappened.”

The Panthers finished 16-2 in the division race, sweeping everydivision foe but Lawrence County and McComb. He said a key turningpoint in the season was the sweep of Forest Hill, winning adoubleheader on the road.

The Panthers produced a 15-game winning streak this season. Theydefeated Class 5A powers Brandon and Terry along the way.

Spring said his pitching staff recorded a 2.56 ERA which gavethe team an opportunity to win almost every game. The team had a.357 batting average and 9 players batted over .300. The Panthersstole 65 bases.

King, along with seniors Michael Cowart and Chris Dixon, werenamed permanent team captains.

Junior shortstop/pitcher Bud Britt received the Best OffensivePlayer Award. He batted .486, hit 7 homers, collected 31 RBIs,scored 37 runs and boasted a .602 on-base percentage.

In 105 official at-bats this season, Britt didn’t strikeout.

Sophomore centerfielder Elliott McKee and freshman catcher NickPeavey were recognized as Best Defensive Players. McKee didn’tcommit an error and Peavey only had 2 miscues.

The Most Improved Award went to sophomore outfielder BriceHuckaby. Sophomore pitcher/outfielder Brandon Foster was recognizedas Mr. Hustle.

All-Division 6-4A honors went to King, Britt, Huckaby, Dixon,Nick Helmstetter and Cody Ratcliff. Foster, Jarvis Wilbert and ZachHalliwell received honorable mention.

Amy Valentine compiled a slide show of the 2008 season which wasset to music and enjoyed by the crowd.

Spring thanked his seniors for their contributions to the team’ssuccess and presented them with their game jerseys. He alsorecognized Jacob Dunn who would have been a graduating seniormember of the team but was killed in an automobile accident inAugust, 2005. Dunn’s jersey was presented to his parents, David andSondra Dunn.