Ole Brook seniors sign to continue baseball careers

Published 11:25 am Tuesday, April 16, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Two Ole Brook Panthers signed to continue their baseball careers in college Monday afternoon. Austin Rylee signed to play at Jones College in Ellisville while Elijah Calcote signed with Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit. 

Rylee is a right handed pitcher who committed to Jones College in Sept. 2023. He is a right handed batter too. Calcote is a right handed pitcher and a right fielder. Southwest was the first school to offer him back in July 2023. 

Brookhaven teammates celebrated with the seniors following the signing ceremony. Calcote said it felt good to sign with Southwest. They really wanted him and it helped accomplish a dream. 

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“I always dreamed of doing this. I love this team and I’m happy to be here and be able to go on playing baseball and to live out my dream,” Calcote said. “It started when I was five years old. I played football but I didn’t love it like I did baseball.” 

Baseball became his main focus and drive in athletics. Calcote said he never knew he could be a pitcher until a coach told him he should give it a try. The encouragement led to him finding a perfect fit on the mound. 

He said when he is in the game he tries not to overthink pitching. His mindset is to fill the strike zone and try to get ahead in the counts.

Southwest gave him an opportunity to continue his career. He said he felt respected by Southwest. Calcote added that he will miss Brookhaven’s team when the seasons concludes and he walks across the football field and earns his diploma. 

“Southwest was a family when I visited. I’ll be able to show my work and they can help me grow in areas I need to grow in,” Calcote said. “They can elevate me while I’m there. The coaches are pretty cool too. I’ll miss the people on this team. They are really like family. The coaches and my teammates.” 

Calcote said in his high school career he has made it without any injuries. It is a blessing to be able to live out his dream, he added. 

He said he is stuck between being an engineering major and an art major. Right now, the art major might win the battle. Calcote explained he is thinking about becoming a tattoo artist one day. 

“Drawing has been in my family for generations. We draw a lot. I have drawn ever since I can remember,” Calcote said. “I had classmates tell me I should be a tattoo artist. I have drawn a lot more lately.” 

Rylee said it felt good to sign Monday afternoon. He was quiet and reserved during the big occasion. 

“I have always wanted to sign since I was little. I started playing baseball when I was six,” Rylee said. “I like being the pitcher. You can control the game for the most part. It is good at times. You can slow the game down or speed it up on the mound.”

He said he chose Jones College because they offer a chance to improve as a player. The opportunity to grow and move on to a senior college after two years in the community college system was a benefit too. 

“Jones can develop me as a pitcher and I can get better and better,” Rylee said. “I will miss home but it isn’t too far away. I can still always drive back. I’m excited for graduation.” 

Rylee will study business and hopes to go into business management. 

His fondest memory with the Brookhaven team is celebrating after games and going to Taco Bell. The order for Taco Bell always changes, Rylee said.