The Northeast Mississippi Community College baseball program is wrapping up a great season with another accolade for its achievements away from the diamond. The Tigers were recipients of the 2022 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Team Academic Excellence Award presented by Sports Attack. Northeast obtained this recognition by accumulating an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.29 on a 4.0 scale.
The Tigers were also acknowledged as an All-Academic Team by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). “It does not surprise me one bit that our GPA was that high with this group,” said Northeast head coach Richy Harrelson. “When you get high character kids that care about everything, it’s amazing to watch them. I’m proud of them.”
The Tigers were one of just four members of the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) that received this decoration. There was a total of 34 NJCAA institutions on the ABCA’s scholastic listing. Twenty Northeast players secured individual honors for maintaining a GPA greater than 3.25.
That includes NJCAA All-Academic Award winners Logan Bland (Olive Branch), Hayden Donahue (Booneville), Lock Elliott (Oxford), Colby Holcombe (Florence, Ala.), Eli Jones (Booneville), Jackson McCoy (Booneville), Jackson Owen (Starkville), Carter Phillips (Blue Springs) and Grayson Stone (Tishomingo).
That tandem also earned academic all-conference distinction along with Gray Berry (West Point), Connor Bonds (Burnsville), Dylan Bowers (Southaven), John Eaton (Biggersville), Aidan Foeller (Southaven), AJ Kaelin (Olive Branch), Davis Oswalt (Nettleton), Chess Parker (Corinth), Peyton Peoples (Oak Grove), Jake Reeder (Pontotoc) and Luke Willard (Pinedale).
The Tigers pieced together a historic campaign on the field.
- Northeast finished the regular season with a 27-16 record and
- brought playoff action to The Plex for the first time in its brief three-year existence.
- Northeast won 15 of its last 17 MACCC contests to vault up the standings into a host role. The Tigers had victories over nationally ranked opponents East Central Community College and Pearl River Community College during that stretch.
Among the other highlights for Northeast this year was:
- a combined no-hitter by Holcombe and Reeder against Kaskaskia (Ill.) College. It was the first no-no by the Tigers since March 2008.
- Northeast also boasted the NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year in Owen, and the
- MACCC Pitcher of the Year in Holcombe, who also collected
- first-team All-American laurels from the NJCAA.
The Tigers have now captured the ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award, which is given to programs at all levels of collegiate athletics plus high schools as well, for four of the past five years.
Members of the Northeast Mississippi Community College baseball program that received the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Team Academic Excellence Award include (bottom, from left) Kyle Church of Booneville, Colton Fitzsimmons of New Site, Gray Berry of West Point, Logan Bland of Olive Branch, Khi Holiday of Tupelo, Charlie McAnally of Iuka, Ward Johnson of Biggersville, Luke Smith of Jasper, Ala., Noah Foster of Tupelo, Grayson Stone of Tishomingo, (middle, from left) Shawn Dalton Weatherbee of Thrasher, Jackson Owen of Starkville, Connor Bonds of Burnsville, Zac Gann of Booneville, John Eaton of Biggersville, Davis Oswalt of Nettleton, Eli Jones of Booneville, Peyton Peoples of Oak Grove, Lock Elliott of Oxford, AJ Kaelin of Olive Branch, Chess Parker of Corinth, manager Seth Ivy of Decatur, Ala., (back, from left) Luke Willard of Pinedale, Carter Phillips of Blue Springs, Jackson McCoy of Booneville, Dylan Bowers of Southaven, Mason Walden of New Site, John Whiteside of Haleyville, Ala., Colby Holcombe of Florence, Ala., Jackson Conn of Jackson, Aidan Foeller of Southaven, Alex Marshall of Corinth, Hayden Donahue of Booneville, Seth Bagwell of Jackson, Jake Reeder of Pontotoc and Caleb Huggins of Burnsville.
–Blake Long, Sports Information Director Northeast Mississippi Community College