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All-County Baseball: Naron has brought consistency, winning to St. Al’s program

When Sid Naron took over as St. Aloysius’ baseball coach early in 2016, the youngest players on the roster naturally held a special place in his heart.

In the ensuing years he shaped them into contenders on the baseball field, and hopefully imparted some life lessons on it. They shared special moments and bad ones, all while chasing success.

By and large, Naron and the Flashes found it. Those young seventh-graders from 2016 graduated from St. Al in 2021 having never had a losing season. They’ve kept St. Al’s baseball program if not always on an upward trajectory, then at least not on a downward one.

“This senior group we had this year is very special,” Naron said. “They were the seventh-grade group when I got here. They’ve given so much to the program, and so much back to these younger guys. We’re on the brink of making the next step and excited about where the program is going.”

Before they do that, Naron is taking an opportunity to celebrate what has already been accomplished. He and the Flashes finished with a 16-11 record this season, and were the only team in Warren County to finish above .500. For not only that success, but the consistency throughout his tenure, Naron was selected as The Vicksburg Post’s 2021 high school baseball Coach of the Year.

“Definitely excited. It’s definitely a reflection of our team and the job that our assistant coaches Jay Harper and Judson Gatling have done behind the scenes,” said Naron, who also won The Post’s award in 2018 and has an 85-41 record at St. Al. “They’ve invested in each one of these players. I’m super excited — not for the individual accolade, but for this team. That’s what that award is, is a reflection of the team success.”

St. Al had a 7-2 record when the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic ended the 2020 season in March. COVID didn’t end the 2021 campaign, but might have contributed to it wrapping up earlier than the Flashes would have liked.

Naron contracted COVID late in the season, which forced St. Al’s players and coaches to quarantine, as well as the postponement of several district games. They then had to play nine games in a 10-day span leading into the MAIS Class 4A playoffs, and were swept in two games by Brookhaven Academy in the first round.

Naron said that disappointing finish might have laid the foundation for more success in the future, however. With so many games in a short time, some younger players who will be thrown into bigger roles next season got playing time in important games.

“We’re learning by default. We had a lot of young guys thrown into the mix because of sickness and injury at the end of the year, and they’re getting that experience,” Naron said. “There’s some big-time talent coming up in our younger classes. I think with those experiences we’ll be able to make the next step. We’re pursuing a state championship. Playoff wins, that’s really not where we’re going. We’re trying to get to a championship level.”

With their eyes on bigger prizes down the line, Naron added that he wanted to thank those that have contributed to what the Flashes have done so far on his watch — not only players, but his own family and the team’s support staff.

“God has blessed me and my family with their patience with me, being away from home for all those hours. And then on top of that, our baseball family here is super special,” Naron said. “There’s a lot that goes in behind the scenes at a private school, from the parents’ standpoint. They entrust their kids with us, but at the same time make sure everything goes as planned and let us do our jobs and they’re great supporters of what we do.”

VICKSBURG POST
BASEBALL COACHES OF THE YEAR
2021 – Sid Naron, St. Aloysius
2020 – No winner
2019 – Conner Douglas, Warren Central
2018 – Sid Naron, St. Aloysius
2017 – Conner Douglas, Warren Central
2016 – Conner Douglas, Warren Central
2015 – Conner Douglas, Warren Central
2014 – Conner Douglas, Warren Central
2013 – Derrik Boland, St. Aloysius
2012 – Ryan Grey, Vicksburg
2011 – Jerry Bourne, Porters Chapel
2010 – Clint Wilkerson, St. Aloysius
2009 – Clint Wilkerson, St. Aloysius
2008 – Jamie Creel, Vicksburg
2007 – Clint Wilkerson, St. Aloysius
2006 – Randy Wright, Porters Chapel
2005 – Clint Wilkerson, St. Aloysius
2004 – Randy Broome, Warren Central
2003 – Randy Wright, Porters Chapel
2002 – Joe Graves, St. Aloysius
2001 – Sam Temple, Warren Central
2000 – Jamie Creel, Vicksburg
1999 – Randy Wright, Porters Chapel
1998 – Sam Temple, Warren Central
1997 – Ray Burroughs, Vicksburg
1996 – Joe Graves, St. Aloysius
1995 – Joe Graves, St. Aloysius
1994 – Joe Graves, St. Aloysius

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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