Hatley duo finally Jackson bound

Hatley seniors Russ Johnson and Hunter Schrock have been so close to Jackson the last two seasons they could smell it. But the Tigers two chances at a Class 2A state championship series came up just short.

The duo is finally going to the capital city, for Saturday’s D.M. Howie Crossroads Diamond Club All-Star Game at Smith-Wills Stadium.

“It is a big deal for them, a good reward they’ve earned,” Hatley coach John Harris said. “It’s good for them to get that opportunity. They have worked really hard to get to Jackson to play for a championship, but didn’t get that chance. I think it’s bittersweet. “

Johnson, a Itawamba CC signee, is one of 14 Journal area players making up the 18-man Class 1A/2A/3A North roster. Alcorn Central’s Jeff Wood and Kossuth’s Daniel Threadgill are coaching the small-schools team.

“It’s been fun, kind of laid back and relaxed so far,” Johnson said. “I just want to prove that if you come from a small school, you’re still capable of playing college ball.”

The Hatley duo is finishing with an all-star reward after helping Hatley from a struggling team to contender the last two seasons, the first two for Harris.

return trip

Kossuth’s Josh Whitaker returns to the city a week after winning the Class the 3A state championship a little down the road in Pearl. Class 2A state runners-up East Union sends two players, Cody Bo Dillard and Duck Pratt.

“They all know the game,” Threadgill said. “It’s really easy. We just put them in positions, make a lineup out and let them go play.”

The 4A/5A/6A North team has four area players – Tanner Poole, Amory; Ben Foster, New Albany; Hayden Cummings, Pontotoc and J.G. Miley, Tupelo.

Whitaker is still looking for a college baseball opportunity. The Aggies lone senior struck out 114 batters in 83.1 innings this season and finished with a 1.76 ERA.

“I think his stock went up late in the playoffs, with him pitching and playing a key role” Threadgill said.


Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal