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Jones signs scholarship with Southwest Bears

 Drew Jones is looking forward to his future baseball career. His Tuesday scholarship signing with  the Southwest Mississippi Community College Bears granted the talented Brookhaven outfielder at least two more years of the diamond sport.

     “I liked the coaches and I really liked their baseball field at Southwest,” said 18-year-old Jones. The ceremony took place in the sparkling W.L. Roach Wing of the BHS library. He was joined by family members and friends.

     Jones batted an impressive .551 as a senior, helping lead the Panthers to a 24-6-1 worksheet and the Region 6-5A championship. He drove in 40 runs, hit 19 doubles and 4 homers. He also  stole 17 bases.

     This was the first year for high school teams across the nation to use the BBCor bats, which resemble wood. They also drastically reduced the number of home runs, compared to the aluminum bats used in the past.

     An honor roll student, Jones received the Scholastic Award at last Friday’s awards banquet. He also was named Most Valuable Player.

     His mother, Lori Perkins, and father, Tim Jones, along with younger brother Reed Jones, were present for the group picture. He has a younger sister, Rachel Jones;  two stepbrothers, J.B. and Hayes Perkins; and two stepsisters, Sarah Marshall Perkins and K.T. Perkins.

     “Drew fits what we need with our incoming outfielders,” said Southwest head coach Lee Kuyrkendall. “The ones we have signed are all good defensive players and they have done well offensively, too.”

     Kuyrkendall, wrapping up his fourth campaign at Southwest, coached the Bears to a fifth place finish in the South Division. They posted an overall record of 20-26 and were 11-13 in the South Division, just one victory shy of making the state playoffs.

     Dillon Newell, a right-handed pitcher from BHS, signed earlier with Southwest. Jones said they probably would be roommates.

     Jones said his favorite college team is Mississippi State. “The best-case scenario for me would to be in Starkville in two years,”  playing for the MSU Bulldogs.

     Jones, a wiry 6-foot-2, 150-pound right-hander whose nickname is Bones, hit the baseball with authority this season. His impressive batting average was the second highest in Coach Randy Spring’s 13 years as head coach at BHS.

     “Obviously, I’m very proud of Drew,” said Spring. “He has worked very hard to get better. He understands hitting and he hits the ball hard. He’s a line drive hitter. He doesn’t swing and miss a lot, like some good batters.

     “I’m very happy for him,” Spring continued. “He is one of the most improved players over his career.”

     Jones said his favorite subject in school is physics. He plans to major in either biology or engineering in college.

     He closely follows the St. Louis Cardinals. His favorite player is Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman. His father, Tim Jones, played baseball and football for Monticello High School in the 1970s.

     Kuyrkendall also has signed outfielders Patric Devlin of Long Beach, Andrew Hulbert of  Ridgeland and Zach Smith of Parklane Academy.

     “We have a good class coming in and we are excited about it,” said Kuyrkendall.

     Also signed by Kuyrkendall and his assistant, Ken Jackson, were  infielders Collin Carroll of Ridgeland, Anthony Durr of North Pike, Logan Ferrell of Purvis and Will Richardson of North Pike; catcher Tyler Towles of Centreville Academy, right-handed pitchers Derek Lacoste of Long Beach, Chase Ladd of Warren Central, Jake Landry of Northeast Jones, Jesse Travis of North Pike and lefthanders Dylan Gregoire of Baton Rouge (Catholic) and Austin White of Simpson Academy.

     Bear Tracks: Southwest will have six weeks of fall baseball practice, concluding the week before Thanksgiving.