USA Today honor catches Tankersley by surprise

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 9, 2001

[07/09/01] Taylor Tankersley was as surprised as anyone when he saw his name on the front page of USA Today on Friday.

While doing landscaping, his partner and classmate, Matt Easterling, said he saw in The Vicksburg Post and that Tankersley had been selected one of the top 50 players in the country by the national newspaper.

He bought a copy and to his surprise, at the top of the front sports page, it said: “The high school baseball players of the year include Minnesota’s Joe Mauer, who batted .605 and was the Twins’ top draft pick, and Mississippi’s Taylor Tankersley, who went 13-0 with a 0.44 ERA.”

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It’s the latest honor for the Alabama signee from Warren Central, who was also player of the year for The Vicksburg Post and The Clarion-Ledger, first team all-state on the Mississippi Association of Coaches squad and the starter for the North in the Mississippi All-Star Game.

“It’s pretty cool, really,” Tankersley said. “It’s a good honor.”

Tankersley led the Vikings to a 36-3 finish, the school’s first state championship and a No. 4 national ranking by USA Today.

“There’s an unbelievable group of guys left (at WC),” Tankersley said. “They and Coach (Randy) Broome are going to take it even further.”

Broome was promoted from assistant to head coach to replace Sam Temple, who was hired to coach Clinton High.

Two weeks after claiming the state title, Tankersley chose college over the pros.

Kansas City wanted Tankersley in the sixth round of June’s amateur draft, but the left-hander turned down the offer. He was picked again by the Royals in the 38th round, but will enroll in college instead.

He recently went to orientation and will leave Aug. 18 for the fall semester.

Tankersley is not playing this summer, but he is tutoring a pair of 9-year-olds in baseball.

Tate 8, Thunder 3

Time ran out on the Vicksburg Thunder against Florida power Tate High Saturday afternoon.

Jason Brown pitched a complete game, striking out eight and allowing 10 hits, and Blake Warnock doubled. But errors sealed the fate of the Thunder, which is made up of St. Aloysius players. They made three in the third as Tate expanded on a 4-3 lead.

“Everybody put the ball in play,” Thunder coach Joe Graves said. “This should give us confidence … we won’t see anybody like this in our high school season.”