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Breakfield leads Hornets to 3rd round

Coaching is a stress-filled occupation, no matter what level ofcompetition. To help him deal with stress, Loyd Star baseball coachJonathan Breakfield seeks spiritual support from above before hebegins each day and each season.

Breakfield’s Hornets stepped up and exceeded expectations in2009, reaching the third round of the Class 2A state playoffs, in arebuilding year. For his accomplishments, Breakfield is The DAILYLEADER’s Coach of the Year on the 2009 All-Lincoln County BaseballTeam.

Looking at Loyd Star’s 20-10 campaign, Breakfield watched fivenewcomers to the starting lineup make a positive impact. As theseason moved along, the overall team grew stronger and became afamily.

“I promised the Lord before the season started that I was goingto give him this season,” said Breakfield. “I was just going to layit at His feet.”

Breakfield, 29, a Columbia native, is in his seventh year atLoyd Star, his fifth as head coach. He replaced Sidney Wheatley atthe helm

“We really played well at the end of the season,” saidBreakfield. “We won 14 of 16 (games) toward the end of theseason.”

The Hornets lost to Taylorsville in the third round of the stateplayoffs. Breakfield loses two starters, pitcher Drew Weaver andcenterfielder Jamie Jones, from that group.

Returning in 2010 for the Hornets are catcher Travis Keene,first baseman Cody Smith, second baseman Tyler Case, shortstopKorey Allen, third baseman T.J. Floyd, leftfielder Leebo Bairfieldand rightfielder Marquis Hayes.

“If we can get a couple of guys to step in and contribute, thatwill be good,” said Breakfield. He was minus a full-time assistantcoach this season. Loyd Star graduate Michael Britt served as avolunteer assistant.

“Michael was a tremendous asset to our program,” saidBreakfield. “He put a lot of hours into helping me with theteam.”

Breakfield will have a new assistant coach next season as LoydStar product Jarred Britt moves home from Enterprise.

Overall, Loyd Star fans have high expectations for their teamsand their coaches. They’re not satisfied with losing, no matter howclose the score.

“The fan support is strong at Loyd Star,” said Breakfield. “Wehave very good support from our principal (Robin Case) and athleticdirector (Billy Vaughn).”

Asked about his coaching philosophy, Breakfield credits his highschool coach (Bruce Ratcliff) at Columbia with giving him a strongfoundation. He signed a baseball scholarship with Pearl RiverCommunity College and later graduated from Southern Miss in 2001,with a degree in coaching and sports administration.

A motivator, Breakfield said he’s always open to suggestions tohelping him become a better coach. “I will try anything. If itworks, I’ll keep it. If it doesn’t, I’ll throw it out.”

A white porcelain toilet sits in one corner of the Loyd Stardugout. Asked for an explanation, Breakfield said, when his playersmake mistakes, he tells them, “To flush it and forget it. It ‘s amotivational tool.”

He attends baseball clinics every year. “No matter how old Iget, I just want to keep learning about baseball. I want to makemyself a better coach.”

Serving as Huddle Leader with the Fellowship of ChristianAthletes at Loyd Star, Breakfield is concerned about his playersand how they perform, on and off the diamond. “When these kidsleave here, I want to have a positive influence on them. I wantthem to be good husbands, good fathers and good citizens.”

Breakfield and his wife, Robyn, have a 2 and one-half -year-olddaughter, Josie. He serves as a deacon at Mt. Zion BaptistChurch.