Meridian Star

Sports

May 27, 2014

Local stars recognized; Boatner named Coach of Year

MERIDIAN — Collinsville — The West Lauderdale High School baseball team accomplished plenty during the 2014 campaign. The Knights compiled a 33-2 overall record, and defeated Purvis High School in a best-of-three series, 3-0 and 5-0, last week to claim the MHSAA Class 4A state championship, it's 13th in school history.

On Monday, the achievements continued to roll in for the Knights as piitcher Will Stokes and designated hitter Colton McKeithen were named first team All-State, while pitcher Ryan Lane reeled in second team honors.

"It's just a great honor," Stokes said. "It lets you know that all of your hard work has paid off."

Additionally, catcher Blake Anderson was named Class 4A's Player of the Year, and coach Jerry Boatner garnered Coach of the Year honors.

"It's been a special year," Boatner said. "It's an accumulation of hard work and great talent. We had experienced talent and desire, and good things happen when you work hard and you've got talent. I'm glad this team got to experience that atmosphere (at Trustmark Park in Pearl) and I'm just glad those guys got the recognition that they deserved."

Added Stokes, "We've all worked hard for this and I'm proud of my teammates."

Tigers honored

Southeast Lauderdale High School senior catcher Mason Irby was named to the 2014 Class 3A first-team All-State squad as a utility player. Additionally, senior Gage Hagan was named to the second team as an outfielder.

The accolades are deservedly earned as both players battled through injuries all season long. Irby sustained an Ulnar Collateral Ligament injury to his right elbow, which limited him to mostly designated hitter duties in 2014, and Hagan sustained a back injury which kept him from pitching this past season.

"They're tough minded," Southeast Lauderdale coach Shay Cooper said. "They played through a lot of pain this year and did an outstanding job for us all year."

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