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Britt’s Hornets reach potential

  Loyd Star baseball coach Jared Britt knew his team had potential. Much of his team’s success hinged on the strength of the pitching staff and the good fortune of avoiding serious injuries.

     Britt’s team started slow, overcame adversity and finished strong. His Hornets advanced to the South State 2A championship series against Taylorsville, the eventual state champion. They finished with a 23-10 record, going farther than any Loyd Star team in decades.

     That performance has earned Britt The Daily Leader’s Coach of the Year honors on the 2013 All-Lincoln County Baseball Team.

     “I was expecting to possibly win district and make the second round of the playoffs,” Britt recalled, revealing his personal outlook for the season. “I knew we had the pitching and the hitters. I told them, ‘We can go as far as you want to.'”

     His Hornets beat Lumberton, Ackerman and Richton in three rounds of the playoffs. There were plenty of heroes on the mound, in the field and at the plate.

     “We dealt with adversity,” said Britt. Early in  the season, his team was devastated by the death of Cindy Smith, mother of senior catcher Logan Smith. She had been a devoted supporter of the Hornets, a cherished part of the Loyd Star family.

     “We have a very resilient bunch of kids,” said Britt. “They had that never-say-die attitude.”

     Britt, 27, is a 2004 Loyd Star graduate. He was an outstanding high school athlete, earning All-Lincoln County honors in basketball. After attending Co-Lin, he transferred to Southern Miss where he obtained a degree in sport coaching and education in 2008.

     He teaches physical education, geology and environmental science. He spent one year teaching and working as an assistant coach in football and baseball at Enterprise, before returning to his alma mater.

     Britt worked two years as an assistant baseball coach to Johnathan Breakfield at Loyd Star. “Coach Breakfield taught me more in two years than I learned in all my years in baseball.”

     Loyd Star had a veteran team and some young talent. They came together and played as a unit.

     “We really had to battle hard in our district,” said Britt. “It was a fun season.”

     He loses seven seniors, six of them starters, to graduation. They are pitcher/rightfielder Cori Crowe, catcher Logan Smith, pitcher/third baseman Branden Canny, second baseman Brendyn Brister, first baseman Josh Hodges and shortstop Braden Smith.

     Pitchers Caleb Yarborough and Peyton Flowers, centerfielder Seth Farmer, leftfielder Dorian Beard, second baseman Hayden Brownlee and designated hitter Brett Calcote are the returning veterans.

      Britt doesn’t have a paid assistant coach. He complimented his two volunteer coaches: Cody Smith and David Cuevas.

     Relaxing in Loyd Star’s 3-year-old baseball field house, Britt said the community support for his baseball team was encouraging. Large home crowds filled the Smith Field bleachers. Over 500 fans showed up for the Taylorsville game.

     He is the son of Bruce and Tammie Britt. His father graduated in 1974 and played basketball and baseball for the Hornets.

     He has a 29-year-old brother Seth and a 11-year-old sister, Sarah, who plays junior high softball. In his spare time, Jared enjoys fishing and hunting, especially rabbit hunting with his family.