Sam Temple locking down fruitful area for baseball|[1/17/06]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hinds Community College’s four-county recruiting area is one of the most talent-rich baseball areas in Mississippi.

On Monday, first-year HCC coach Sam Temple landed a pair of local standouts and received verbal commitments from another pair as he tries to lock down recruits from the area.

Temple, who guided Warren Central to a Class 5A state championship in 2001, delivered scholarship papers and expected to have signatures from Vicksburg High’s Steven Price and WC’s Nick Carson. Warren Central players Eric Douglas and Josh Gordon gave verbal commitments to play for Temple.

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&#8220I want to lock down our area,” said Temple of HCC’s main recruiting counties of Hinds, Rankin, Warren and Claiborne. &#8220We want people to know that Hinds is their junior college program. We need support. We need for people to look at it as Vicksburg’s junior college.”

Temple spent five seasons at Warren Central and during that time spent many nights watching the youth baseball programs. He watched both Price and Carson as youngsters and could tell early they had potential.

&#8220I spent many nights at Halls Ferry Park watching Nick from afar,” Temple said. &#8220I’ve known for a long time that he would be a great impact player.”

While Carson roams center field for the Vikings, Price plays left field and is one of Vicksburg High’s top returning pitchers.

&#8220One thing I have to make sure of is that the best pitching comes to Hinds,” Temple said. &#8220I believe Steven is a great position player and he has a great arm.”

The signings are just the latest in a busy six months since Temple took over as head coach of the Raymond school.

He has secured a shoe and bat contract, has had upgrades to his facilities and has arranged for a junior college showcase tournament to be played at Bazinsky Field.

On March 11 and 12, Southwest C.C., Mississippi Delta, Hinds and Kishwaukee College from Illinois will participate in the tournament.

&#8220This is not a one-time thing. We want to come back every year,” Temple said.

The coach added he is still working on logistical concerns for the two-day event, but Bazinsky will play host to six junior college games and a high school game over that weekend.

Temple took over the Eagles’ program from Rick Clarke, who had coached HCC for the previous 21 years. In that time, Hinds made four trips to the juco World Series.

Temple is not the only Hinds coach searching the playing fields of Warren County. Soccer coach Patti Johnson signed a pair of Vicksburg High players and one Warren Central standout.

Megan Humphries and Beverley Simmons of Vicksburg High and Warren Central’s Mallory Wells signed national letters of intent to play soccer in Raymond next season.