Spring mixes a winner

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 2, 2008

Mix together strong senior leadership, generous portions oftalented underclassmen, a drive to be successful, sprinkled withsolid coaching and the result is a Division 6-4A championship.Brookhaven baseball coach Randy Spring said his team hadexceptional chemistry and it produced outstanding results.

Spring’s Panthers went 16-2 in division play and finished with a25-8 record, advancing to the second round of the Class 4A stateplayoffs. For those accomplishments, Spring has been recognized asThe DAILY LEADER’s 2008 All-Lincoln County Baseball Coach of theYear.

“Our team chemistry was as good as it has been in a long time,”said the 38-year-old Spring who just completed his ninth season atBHS. His 2004 squad captured the Class 4A state championship.

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“Our seniors did everything we needed them to do,” said Spring.He was referring to southpaw pitcher Paxton King, third basemanCody Ratcliff, second baseman Chris Dixon and utility playerMichael Cowart.

Those seniors helped BHS win 86 games during their varsitycareers.

Spring said underclassmen like Bud Britt, Brandon Foster, BriceHuckaby, Jarvis Wilbert, Nick Peavey, Elliott McKee, Zach Halliwelland Nick Helmstetter stepped up and improved their games, makingsolid contributions to the team’s success, that featured a 15-gamewinning streak.

As a team, the Panthers batted .357. They stole 65 bases and 9players batted over .300.

“Our pitchers gave us an opportunity to win every game,” saidSpring. His mound staff fashioned a 2.56 ERA.

“Our kids were persistent and consistent,” Spring noted. “Theymust be the same every day; be consistent in everything.”

Spring said his veteran staff of assistant coaches was a bigplus for the baseball program. They are Dwayne Oberschmidt, EricStokes and Dustin Lott.

According to Spring, another key to his success is the abilityto change the style of play according to the personnel. “You mustbe careful not to get locked into a certain style.

“Traditionally, our pitching gives us a chance to win,” Springadded. “We like to work the count. We get stronger later in thegame.”

A 1988 graduate of McComb Parklane Academy, Spring starred as acatcher for Coach Ken Jackson. He played one year at SouthwestMississippi Community College and three years at Southern Missunder Hill Denson.

Spring obtained a degree in sports administration, with anemphasis on teaching. He obtained a master’s degree inadministration education from Jackson State. He teaches driver’seducation at BHS.

He and his wife, Amy, have two sons, Brett, age 12; and Brady,6. During the summer he enjoys coaching his son who plays for WelchPest Control.

According to Spring, summer league baseball is an importantresource for the high school program. His players are active insummer leagues, inside and outside the county.