Gordon stars for Statesmen

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 25, 2010

JACKSON — Josh Gordon is having the type of season he doesn’t want to see end.

The former Warren Central and Hinds Community College star is putting up big numbers in his senior season at Delta State University. His batting average of .424 this season is nearly 50 points higher than any other Statesmen.

Tuesday night at Smith-Wills Stadium, Gordon continued his hot hitting with a solo home run to left field to highlight a 2-for-4 effort and lead the Statesmen to a 5-4 win over Belhaven. It was his eighth home run of the season. It is another of the six hitting categories in which he leads the team. The others include runs (54), hits (75), slugging percentage (.633), RBI (40) and extra-base hits (19).

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“I sure hope I can keep it going. This is something I don’t want to be done with,” Gordon said of his season that may lead to All-Gulf South Conference honors and a possible shot at NCAA Division II All-America honors as well.

Because of his superb senior season, Gordon also hopes it is enough to attract attention from Major League Baseball scouts.

“I would love to play pro ball. I definitely don’t want to be done after this season,” Gordon said.

Delta State’s program is held in high regard by many Major League organizations. Two former Statesmen are currently in the major leagues, San Francisco catcher Eli Whiteside and Kansas City pitcher Dusty Hughes. Two more former DSU players are on 40-man rosters, including Edwin Maysonet and Brent Leach. A big reason why is head coach Mike Kinnison.

“Coming to Delta State was a good step for me. Coach Kinnison is a lot like Coach (Sam) Temple at Hinds.

“They are a lot alike and they want the same kind of thing from you, every day,” Gordon said.

Kinnison is proud of the way Gordon stepped up midway through his junior year and has become the team’s top player in 2010.

“He’s having a great year, exactly what you want to see from your senior and he has provided that leadership with his steady play. His numbers speak for themselves,” Kinnison said.

When he took to the field for his junior season, Kinnison said it took some time for Gordon to find his spot. He started 31 games and batted .351 with six home runs and 37 RBIs.

“We looked at him both at first and third base and those things have a way of working out. About mid-season, he emerged as our third baseman and just took over the role.

“This season, we needed someone to be our RBI guy in that three hole. He’s been great there. So much so, that teams now have to game plan for him and look for ways to pitch around him,” Kinnison said.

Gordon’s makeup has helped him deal with the added pressure.

“I’ve been doing good this season, but I just try to take it one game at a time. I attribute a lot of it to the great coaching I’ve gotten from Coach Kinnison and his staff. I’ve been able to cut down on my stride and I’ve just seen the ball a lot better,” Gordon said.

After beating Belhaven Tuesday night, Delta State is now 32-13-1 this season. For a perfectionist like Kinnison, who won a national championship in 2004, things could be better.

“To me, it’s been a disappointing year. We started out well, hit a slump, then won 13 in a row and then come back and lost all three games in a home series last weekend. We’re 11-6 in the (Gulf South) Conference and will probably be a third or fourth seed in our tournament,” Kinnison said.

Contact Jeff Byrd at jbyrd@vicksburgpost.com