2023 All-Area High School Baseball Coach of the Year, Enterprise’s Austin Hood

Published 3:00 pm Saturday, June 17, 2023

When you talk about the best teams in MHSAA 1A baseball, there are some schools that are always going to be mentioned as perennial title contenders.

Resurrection Catholic from Pascagoula, the two-time defending 1A champs, is one of those teams. As is the team they beat a few weeks ago in Pearl for the title, West Union High. Myrtle High is another 1A program that figures to have a long postseason run each year along with Taylorsville and a few select others.

If first-year Enterprise coach Austin Hood and his team can keep the momentum of their 2023 season going, it’ll be time that other 1A schools start to put some respect on the Yellow Jacket’s name too.

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Hood inherited a team with just one senior and guided EAC to the 1A quarterfinals where they were swept in a tough series by Resurrection.

For his outstanding results in year one of his leadership, Hood has been tabbed as the 2023 Daily Leader All-Area Coach of the Year in high school baseball.

Hood hails from Union County and his previous coaching stop was at Newton County High.

If you pay attention to high school baseball in the Magnolia State, then you know that some big talent comes out of the I-20 corridor every year.

That area of the state is a lot like the one that Hood now lives in as Southwest Mississippi and East Central Mississippi are places filled with community-based schools, like the K-12 campuses that dot Lincoln County.

Ballfields and church houses are both important places to be seen in both areas and that’s most likely helped with Hood’s transition to being the head man at EAC.

It also doesn’t hurt that his team has some solid young talent coming up through the ranks.

EAC finished the 2023 season with a 20-13 record and lost 6-2 and 7-4 to the eventual state champs. They lose one player to graduation, All-MAC outfielder Payne Waldrop, but will return two of the best young arms in the county in the now sophomore duo of Kelly Burgess and Ryder Martin.

Again, it would appear that Hood and the Yellow Jackets are getting ready to place themselves in the upper echelon of 1A baseball sooner rather than later as 2023 might just be the start of something special for Enterprise baseball and Austin Hood.