Renfroe bags MVP

Published 5:44 pm Monday, June 14, 2010

Hunter Renfroe’s booming home runs have been history makers atCopiah Academy. The senior catcher led the Mississippi Associationof Independent Schools with a school-record 20 home runs in 2010.He was a key in Copiah Academy’s march to the Class AAA statechampionship last month.

Renfroe’s accomplishments at the plate and his stellar play ondefense have received rave reviews from college coaches and MajorLeague Baseball scouts. He has been named The DAILY LEADER’s MostValuable Player and Mr. Baseball on the 2010 All-Area Team.

The DL’s All-Area Dream Team is composed of players outsideLincoln County. It was selected by the DL’s sports staff, withinput provided by area high school and college coaches.

Other special awards went to Lawrence County junior pitcherScott Votaw, recognized as All-Area Defensive Player of the Year;and senior teammate/second baseman Willie Buckley, pegged All-AreaOffensive Player.

Joining Votaw on the pitching mound are Caleb Broome of Wesson,Shelby Johnston of Parklane Academy and Ben Boone of CopiahAcademy.

Also selected at catcher were Colton Laird of Franklin County,Austin Terrell of Parklane and Keith Martin of Lawrence County.

The infielders are Buckley, Austin McFarland and Hunter Hatcherof Franklin County, Justin Badon of North Pike, Lane Stephens ofLawrence County and Brandon Austin of Parklane.

In the outfield with Buckley are Dehendret Collins of FranklinCounty, Bryce Guess of Copiah Academy, Arin Rimes of North Pike andWes Gill of Parklane.

Designated hitters are Gabrial Gray of Hazlehurst, ChanceSchmidt of Parklane and Jake Martin of North Pike.

Utility players are Dylan Lea of Lawrence County and Kyle Crossof Wesson.

All-purpose players are Matt Smith of Wesson and Kendrick Hodgesof North Pike.

Renfroe, a 6-foot-2, 196-pounder, also starred in football atCopiah Academy but his forte was baseball. He batted .583 and wascredited with 70 RBIs.

He was picked in the 31st round of the Major League BaseballDraft Tuesday by the Boston Red Sox. Renfroe has signed with theMeridian Community College Eagles and is expected to hone hisskills next year.

Asked about his team’s march to the state title, Renfroe said,”It was a tough climb but we finally made it over the top indramatic fashion. We showed we are the best.”

The Colonels won impressively, pounding Magnolia Heights in thechampionship series. “We kept stomping them,” said Renfroe,referring to the 9-2 and 13-1 margins. “We left no doubt.”

A feared batter, Renfroe received 62 free passes to first baseas pitchers cautiously pitched to him. He his 21st home run in theMAIS All-Star Game.

Asked to describe the Colonels, Renfroe said, “Our team isfamily. We did everything together. We even went on camping tripstogether.”

A Mississippi State fan, Renfroe said his best game this seasonwas against ACCS when he hit three home runs. He said his toughestopponent was Central Private.

Asked about his catching position, Renfroe said, “I like beingcatcher because I’m the leader on the field.”

Renfroe praised Copiah head coach Scooter Prince for histeaching and encouragement. “Coach Prince is on our case constantlyto get better. He get on me when I don’t block a ball.”

Renfroe said he likes to hunt and fish when he’s not playingbaseball. He follows the Atlanta Braves and his favorite player isAtlanta catcher Brian McCann.

Scott Votaw (6-4, 200), a right-hander, compiled a 5-2 recordthis season. He had a 1.35 ERA, striking out 51 batters and walking10.

“My defense behind me definitely helped me out this year,” saidVotaw. “Practice made me a better fielder.”

He is a member of a 20-member Mississippi team participating inthe Sunbelt Classic in Oklahoma this week.

Asked about his pitching skills, Votaw said, “My changeupimproved tremendously this year. I can locate it better.”

As a shortstop, Votaw batted .392, hit four homers and drove in29 runs for Coach Cory Keyes.

Vowtaw said he likes watching LSU play baseball because “theyplay hard for nine innings.”

In MLB, he likes the Boston Red Sox. His favorite player isTexas Rangers centerfielder Josh Hamilton. “He overcame a lot. Hewas addicted to drugs and didn’t believe in God. Now he ministersto little kids.”

Willie Buckley (5-10, 190) can play the infield and theoutfield. He batted a team-record .482 for Lawrence County. Hedrove in 29 runs, hit four homers and 16 doubles. He had an .835slugging percentage.

“Willie has the quickest and strongest hands I’ve ever seen inmy coaching years,” said LCHS coach Keyes.

“I enjoy playing second base,” said Buckley. “I like myteammates. They’re a good group of guys.”

He uses an Easton SV12 bat that weighs 30 ounces and is 33inches in length.

Asked about his batting skills, Buckley said, “I watched theball more and listened to my coaches. I’m a first-pitch kind ofguy.”

Buckley has signed with Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Thissummer he’s playing for the Brookhaven-based Blue Jays.

Ben Boone, a senior, compiled a 7-2 record for the Colonels. Hehad a 2.32 ERA, striking out 98 batters and walking 22. He hassigned with Co-Lin.

Caleb Broome, a senior, posted a 7-2 record for Coach HughKnight’s Wesson Cobras. He chalked up 93 strikeouts and owned a1.28 ERA.

Shelby Johnston, a senior right-hander, had a 6-2 record for theParklane Pioneers as they advanced to the Class AAA state playoffs.He accounted for 57 strikeouts and a 3.96 ERA for Coach MichaelClements. Johnston has signed with Southwest.

Colton Laird, a senior, batted .356 for Coach Brent Calcote’sFranklin County Bulldogs. He had a 6-1 pitching record.

Austin Terrell, a senior, batted .431 for Parklane. He had 30RBIs and eight homers. He has signed with Southwest MississippiCommunity College.

Keith Martin, a junior, batted .362 for the Cougars and chalkedup 20 RBIs.

Austin McFarland, a junior, batted .381 for the Bulldogs. He had27 RBIs.

Justin Badon, a senior, batted .394 for the Region 6-4A NorthPike Jaguars who are coached by George Lott III. He had 26 RBIs andfour homers.

Lane Stephens, a senior, batted .379 for Lawrence County. He had26 RBIs and a .958 fielding percentage.

Brandon Austin, a junior, batted .388 for the Pioneers and stole13 bases..

Hunter Hatcher, a senior, batted .495 for the Bulldogs. He had21 RBIs.

Arin Rimes, a senior, batted .328 for the Jaguars.

Dehendret Collins, a senior, batted .426 for the Bulldogs. Hestole 15 bases and hit three homers. He has signed with Co-Lin.

Bryce Guess, a senior, batted .395 and hit four homers for theColonels. He has signed with Co-Lin.

Wes Gill, a senior, batted .413 for the Pioneers and stole 20bases. He has signed with Southwest.

Chance Schmidt, a senior, batted .441 for Parklane and hit ninehomers. He has signed with Soouthwest.

Gabrial Gray, a junior, leads the All-Area team with a .738batting average. He his nine homers for the Vince Grandberry’sIndians.

Jake Martin, a junior, batted .349 for the Jaguars. He had 32RBIs and eight home runs.

Dylan Lea, a junior, batted .403 for the Cougars. He had 26 RBIsand 13 stolen bases.

Kyle Cross, a junior, batted .308 for the Cobras.

Matt Smith, a junior, batted .380 for Wesson. On the mound, hehad a 5-2 record and a 2.10 ERA.

Kendrick Hodges, a junior, batted .434 for the Jaguars. He had37 RBIs.