Meridian Star

April 27, 2013

Clarkdale shines as all-star teams are announced

Tony Tsoukalas
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Clarkdale head coach Scott Gibson and two members of the Bulldogs' 2013 Region 6-2A championship baseball team have been selected to represent the South in the Class 1A/2A /3A 2013 D.M. Howie Mississippi High School All-Star Baseball Games on June 1 at Smith Wills Stadium in Jackson. Clarkdale pitchers Jonathan Porter and Chance McDonald are two of three area kids to be selected to the team, with Southeast Lauderdale's Hunter Thrower also making the list.

    Porter is among the state's leaders in strikeouts and has been the Bulldogs' top pitcher this season. The right-handed senior boasts a .45 earned run average as well as a .400 batting average at the plate for Clarkdale.

    “We feel like he has turned into one of the best 2A pitchers in the state of Mississippi,” Gibson said. “It's a big honor for him, and it's well deserved.”

    McDonald leads the Bulldogs with a .438 batting average this season and has tallied 10 doubles on the year. The senior has served as Clarkdale's No. 2 pitcher this season, compiling a 1.78 earned run average on the year. Both Porter and McDonald will be attending Meridian Community College in the fall.

    “Chance has really worked hard his whole career to be a good hitter,” Gibson said. “He's got this opportunity now. For both of them to be able to play in this game and to play college ball, they are just so deserving of this honor.”

    This will be Gibson's first year serving as a coach at the all-star game. Gibson said he is honored to be selected and is proud of the hard work his team has demonstrated this season.

    “This shows that we have great kids, parents and assistant coaches that work really hard,” Gibson said. “We are building something out here to make our community proud and our school proud. It is something these kids will be able to talk about later on.”


Walk, Brand named all-stars

    Meridian High School's Kendrick Walk and Newton County's Will Brand were named to the Class 4A/5A/6A South team for the  2013 D.M. Howie Mississippi High School All-Star Baseball Games at Smith Willis Stadium in Jackson on June 1.

    Walk played shortstop and pitched for the Wildcats, compiling a team-leading .462 batting average as well as a 3.15 earned run average on the mound. The Meridian senior is currently undecided on were he will attend college next season but is considering Jackson State and Jones Junior College.

    “Kendrick has a will to win,” Meridian coach Robert “Popeye” Cole said. “He led our young guys on the team, and provided them with an example of how to play. He deserves this honor and we wish him well in the game.” s

    Brand led the Cougars on the mound, going 8-1 for Newton County while maintaining a 1.03 earned run average on the year. At the plate, Brand hit .286 and knocked in 19 RBIs for the Cougars. The left-handed senior will pitch for JCJC next season.

    “He's been that guy for us and set the tone all year,” Newton County  coach Wyatt Tullos said. “He gives us a great performance every time he goes to the mound. He just did a great job for us.”

Clarkdale, Enterprise name two to softball all-stars

    Clarkdale's Molly McLeod and Heather Harwell and Enterprise's Emmalee Roberts and Blakley Riley were named to the Mississippi Association of Coaches 2013 All-Star Fast Pitch Softball Games June 8 at JCJC.

    Harwell and McLeod have been vital to the Bulldogs this season, as McLeod leads the team in runs and Harwell leads the team in RBIs.

    "They have been resilient for us," Clarkdale softball coach Britt Bennett said. "They haven't got too high or too low with emotional stuff. They helped us when we started the year struggling. They provide quite leadership, and they have led us on the field with production.

    "They are both four or five-year starters. The experience they bring, they just keep the team loose."

    Riley has been a steady force for Enterprise batting in the No. 2 hole and has only struck out once all year. Roberts has stepped up as the No. 2 pitcher this season, and Enterprise softball coach Davey Dewitt said he feels comfortable every time he sends her to the circle.

    "They have been a big for us this year," Dewitt said. "They play a huge role in our success."

    Philadelphia's Caitlyn Dickerson, Northeast Lauderdale's Kaytie Nelson and Neshoba Central's Katlyn Duke were also named all-stars.