Britt, Helmstetter have college baseball future

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 14, 2009

Brookhaven’s Bud Britt and Nick Helmstetter are anticipatingstellar college baseball careers. Their first step is a communitycollege scholarship and that goal has been accomplished. Brittsigned with Co-Lin and Helmstetter signed with Meridian.

Britt and Helmstetter were instrumental in Ole Brook’s 20-8campaign but they both had to deal with early-season injuries.Britt, a starter in the Panthers’ pitching rotation, injured hisright (throwing) arm after just 13 pitches. Helmstetter sustainedan ankle injury while pitching.

Although Britt was unable to pitch, he postponed the Tommy Johnsurgery until after the season. He still was able to swing the batwith authority, batting .461 and hitting 3 home runs. He hit 9doubles and collected 29 RBIs.

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Helmstetter made a full recovery from the ankle injury andanchored his team on the mound and at the plate, earning him MVPhonors. He compiled a 5-3 pitching record, striking out 82 battersand walking 21 in 49 innings. He fashioned an impressive 0.71ERA.

At the plate, Helmstetter batted a remarkable .508, the firstBHS batter over .500 in Coach Randy Spring’s 10 years at the helm.He had 10 doubles, 22 RBIs and 1 homer. He also owned a .797slugging percentage and a .630 on base percentage.

“Bud and Nick are two of the best ballplayers we have ever had,”said Spring. “I will miss them tremendously. We have two of thebest players in the district.

“They both had to deal with adversity (injuries) but they workedthrough it,” Spring pointed out. “They really grew up thisyear.”

Spring had 4 seniors on his squad that was runner-up in theDivision 6-4A race.

Helmstetter (6-0, 190) has been selected to play in theMississippi High School All-Star Baseball Game, set for June 6, atTrustmark Park in Pearl. His parents are Chad and StacyOberschmidt.

“I like Meridian,” said Helmstetter. “I’m excited about theopportunity to play at the next level.”

He’ll play for Chris Rose at Meridian. He joins formerBrookhaven Academy standout Corey Dickerson on the Meridiansquad.

Helmstetter said he might pitch or play either in the infield oroutfield at Meridian. The Eagles are an NJCAA Division Imember.

Asked about his favorite Major League Baseball team, Helmstettersaid he likes the Boston Red Sox. His favorite player in JoshHamilton of the Texas Rangers.

He said he enjoyed reading Hamilton’s book, BEYOND BELIEF. “Icouldn’t put it down.”

Helmstetter said he appreciated Spring’s guidance. “He has givenme a lot of good advice on and off the baseball field. I’ve enjoyedplaying for him.”

Britt (6-0, 190), the son of Don and Margie Britt, wore a slingcradling his right arm at Monday’s baseball awards banquet. He saidhe was looking forward to rehabbing his arm this summer.

“I’m excited about getting a chance to play at Co-Lin,” saidBritt. “I want to hone my skills and move on to the nextlevel.”

He plans to play the infield at Co-Lin.

Co-Lin coach Keith Case said he was looking forward to havingBritt on his squad. “Bud is a very good athlete. We want his armhealthy. Most of all, we need his bat next season.”

Britt started at quarterback and punted last season for CoachTucker Peavey’s Panthers. He was able to avoid serious injury andled his team to the state playoffs.