“Bunch” of athletic success for IAHS senior

By SCOTTY NICHOLS
Sports Editor

Life has been hectic for Itawamba AHS senior Russell Bunch during

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM IAHS senior tri-sport athlete Russell Bunch has experienced lots of success during his tenure as an Indian, but wants to go out on the highest note possible on the diamond this spring.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
IAHS senior tri-sport athlete Russell Bunch has experienced lots of success during his tenure as an Indian, but wants to go out on the highest note possible on the diamond this spring.

his four-year tenure as an Indian.

The 6’3″ tri-sport standout is a varsity member of the Indian football, basketball and baseball teams, and still manages to be a 4.0 student in the classroom.

“It’s been tough,” Bunch said, with a smile. “But it’s been rewarding. I wouldn’t change any of it.”

Bunch has enjoyed a great deal of success during his athletic seasons, including a collective 29-16 football record over the last four years -each of which included a playoff berth- and also an appearance on ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter.

“That was pretty incredible,” said Bunch, of the play that drew national attention. “Caleb (Whittle) caught that ball inside the 10-yard line and I just kept running, in case it got batted around, and I wanted to be there to possibly make a play. Caleb pulled it in, but he got stood up. We locked eyes for a moment and I stuck my hands out, then he pitched it to me. It’s one touchdown that I’ll never forget.”

After football season, Bunch immediately makes the transition to basketball.

Bunch spends several months per year in the gymnasium, supplying the Indian basketball squad with another big frame.

The Indians are currently enjoying a successful season on the hardwood under first-year head coach Darryl Wilson, but Bunch will step on the stage where he shines brightest a little over a month from now.

Bunch is a two-time Under Armour All-American, and has participated on showcase teams with Baseball Factory and Perfect Game.
Bunch led the Indians in hitting during the 2016 season and has been a starter since his sophomore season.

Driven

“I got some really good experience the last couple of seasons,” said Bunch. “In 2015 we came up short against a really good Houston team, then lost in the first round to a really good Ripley team last year. We have nine seniors and a lot of experienced guys coming back this season, so we’re expecting to build on past success and take it a notch further.”

The versatile Bunch, who has played third base, first base, right field, left field and pitcher during his IAHS tenure, has signed to continue his baseball career at Itawamba Community College next season and has also recently received an offer to punt for the ICC football team.

“I’m kicking it around,” Bunch said. “It would be cool to do both, but I want to really focus on baseball. I’m ready to get to work on reaching our ultimate goal, to get to Pearl and play for a state championship, and then try to earn a starting spot at ICC.”

“I’m excited about my future,” said Bunch. “But right now, it’s basketball season. We have a chance to do something special and make a playoff run, so that’s where my focus is right now.”

scotty.nichols@journalinc.com
Twitter: @ScotNic24

About Scotty Nichols

Graduate of THE University of Mississippi. #HottyToddy. I like sports. And BBQ.

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