Banquet honors Ole Brook baseball players

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thanks for the memories.

Brookhaven baseball coach Randy Spring recognized his six seniors Friday night near the conclusion of the team’s annual awards banquet. The senior group includes Andrew Culver, Houston Case, Zach Smith, Genoa Sartin, Seth Porter and Peyton Clark.

Standing at the podium, with his seniors behind him, Spring recognized each one and the crowd responded with a round of applause. During their varsity careers, they helped post a record of 68 wins, 47 losses and one Region 6-5A championship.

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“My challenge to each of you is to follow the parable of the talents in the Bible,” said Spring., “Each of you is blessed with talent. Each of you will have to give an accounting to God some day.”

It also was a farewell moment for assistant baseball coach Dustin Lott who is moving to North Pike. He served 8 years with Spring and helped the Panthers accumulate a record of 166-83, including a pair of region championships.

Spring said Lott was his offensive coordinator and he trusted him with a lot of responsibilities. Lott also worked as an assistant coach with the football team.

The Ole Brook seniors presented Lott with a glass-encased jersey, bearing No. 6. It was autographed by team members.

Diamond Club president Shannon Clark welcomed the crowd to the banquet, which was held at the Brookhaven Parks & Recreation Department headquarters and catered by Broma’s Deli. A.J. Spring provided the invocation.

Clark thanked the players, parents and numerous volunteers who helped make the program a success. She also introduced the Diamond Girls and their Panther Pals.

She commended the work by Jerry and Kim Case in the sale of signs for the outfield fence. She thanked Bianca Smith for coordinating Game Day meals for the players. She also recognized A.J. Spring for cooking hamburgers and sausages on the grill on game days. She thanked Chris Porter for running the scoreboard and Patrick Porter for working public address announcer.

Spring, in his 14th season at the helm of Ole Brook baseball fortunes, thanked the Diamond Club members for their numerous hours of volunteer work. He thanked the BHS administration and athletic director Tommy Clopton for their support.

He also thanked Fox’s Pizza and the KDMC Performance Center for their support.

“I would like to ask all you players to stand up and give your parents a round of applause,” said Spring.

Spring commended Lott and fourth-year assistant coach Chad Leggett for their efforts in improving the program. “I’m very proud of our new field house facilities. The players and coaches appreciate it.”

He said former players had come by to inspect the field house and their first impression was, “Wow!”

He said BHS is among the top five high school baseball facilities in the state.

Reflecting on his team’s season, Spring said it was a disappointment. “The Good Lord is in control, win or lose. I believe baseball prepares you for life. There’s discipline and hard work involved. You must learn to deal with adversity.”

Putting things in perspective, Spring said, “The best thing about sports is that it’s safe. The worst thing that can happen is that you lose a game.”

He hearkened back to last summer, when the District Seven Team won the gold medal in the State Games of Mississippi. It was a first. BHS team members Houston Case, Andrew Culver and Landon McCullough were members of the squad.

Spring noted that Culver was the recipient of a $2,000 scholarship presented by Dixie Youth Baseball. It was one of 150 scholarships that have been presented by the DYB.

Case, a pitcher/infielder, signed a scholarship with Hinds Community College in January. Culver, a southpaw pitcher/first baseman, plans to walk on at Hinds.

Case, catcher Zach Smith and infielder Landon McCullough were All-Region 6-5A First Team selections as the Panthers finished runners-up to Pearl. Receiving honorable mention were Seth Porter, Peyton Clark, Genoa Sartin and Culver.

Coach Spring noted that Case and Porter both threw no-hitters during the season. Smith hit 2 home runs in the same inning, achieving another milestone.

Clark collected a number of individual awards at the banquet. He earned the Scholastic Award, Team Captain, and the Dwayne Oberschmidt Panther Award.

Smith also was named a permanent team captain. Culver and Porter were co-winners of the Best Pitcher honor. Myles Tipton was recognized as Best Defensive Player and Reed Jones received the Most Improved honor.