In conjunction with C Spire, the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MSHAA) and Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) recently announced the 12 inaugural winners of its Mr. Baseball and Miss Softball awards, one boy and one girl in each of the six MHSAA classifications (1A-6A).
The selection process for Mr. Baseball and Miss Softball involved MAC committee representatives, Mississippi coaches, and media members statewide. The award embodies the state’s highest standard of sportsmanship, integrity, teamwork, and actual on-field performance during regular season play.
These prestigious awards were formally presented to the 12 high school student-athletes at a luncheon in the MHSAA Conference Center on Tuesday, May 23. Each winner was presented with a trophy and a commemorative jersey, and their coaches were offered the opportunity to share remarks on each distinguished player.
The six Miss Softball recipients were also recognized and honored the week of May 16 during the state championship games held at the University of Southern Mississippi Softball Complex in Hattiesburg. Likewise, the six Mr. Baseball winners will be honored next week at Trustmark Park in Pearl during the state baseball championship games.
Mr. Baseball winners
Class 1A – Dylan Rowsey, Biggersville
Class 2A – Everett Johnson, East Union
Class 3A – Hank Eaton, Kossuth
Class 4A – JoJo Parker, Purvis
Class 5A – T.J. Dunsford, East Central
Class 6A – Campbell Smithwick, Oxford.
Five of these six recipients have either signed or committed to NCAA Division I baseball programs. All six winners had batting averages above .400, with Johnson having the highest average at .518. Of the six honored players, four are seniors. But Kossuth fans will enjoy one more year of watching Eaton compete, and Parker, a sophomore, was the youngest Mr. Baseball.
All six players helped take their teams to at least three or four rounds of the state playoff games. And three of these players, Johnson (2A), Parker (4A), and Dunsford (6A), and their teammates will be playing at Trustmark Park next week for the state championship title in their division. For more information on game times and ticket prices, go to gofan.co/app/school/MISSHSAA.
Miss Softball winners
Class 1A – Maddie Terrell, Vardaman
Class 2A – Lucy Cochran, East Union
Class 3A – Hallie Burns, Booneville
Class 4A – Breelyn Cain, West Lauderdale
Class 5A – Kensley Woolbright, New Hope
Class 6A – Jolie Hays, Northwest Rankin.
Of the six Miss Softball honorees, four helped lead their teams to state championship titles this season: Cochran (2A), Burns (3A), Cain (4A), and Hays (6A). It was the third consecutive 3A state softball championship title for Burns and the Booneville Blue Devils. The other two award winners and their teammates made it to two rounds of the playoffs.
Three Miss Softball recipients are seniors, and two of them, Burns and Terrell, have signed with NCAA Division I softball programs. Woolbright committed to playing junior college volleyball but might become a dual athlete and participate in softball as well. While Hays and Cain are juniors, Cochran is only an 8th grader, so fans have many more years to watch her development as an athlete.
As a side note, East Union Attendance Center was the only Mississippi school with athletes honored as Mr. Baseball (Rett Johnson) and Miss Softball (Lucy Cochran). For Cochran, the award was an appropriate accompaniment to her school’s first-ever softball championship. But as an A-rated school, East Union is no stranger to both academic and athletic awards. In fact, Johnson and his teammates will compete for a back-to-back state championship next week at Trustmark Park.
“During my time at East Union, this will be our 11th appearance in the MHSAA baseball championship games,” said Coach Chris Basil. “And, of course, we would love to bring home our 4th state title for our school and community.
“As part of our Gold Standard of Excellence, East Union has already won four state titles this year in softball, girls’ powerlifting, girls’ cross country, and boys’ cross country. So, yes, we would love to bring home our school’s fifth state championship for the year – in baseball.”