Vicksburg’s Johnson, McCroy land baseball scholarships
Published 4:22 pm Friday, May 20, 2022
For four years, Terrance Johnson and Rashad McCroy have been cornerstones of the effort to rebuild Vicksburg High’s baseball program.
The two seniors were starters since ninth grade and leaders on and off the field. They’re about to go their separate ways, but had one last moment as teammates on Friday when they got together to sign their letters of intent to play college baseball.
Johnson signed with Alcorn State, and McCroy with Mountain View College in Dallas.
“Those guys worked really hard. They did everything we asked them to do. They bought into the vision and put in the hard work and dedication. Those guys came to work every day with that mindset,” Vicksburg High coach Antonio Calvin said. “Some molding had to take place, but those guys didn’t resist it. Even on some of the worst days at practice those guys came back for more. They earned this opportunity.”
Johnson, a shortstop, batted .436 with five doubles, 13 RBIs and 25 runs scored this season.
Johnson had several junior college offers, but jumped at the chance to take a Division I deal from Alcorn State. His father is an Alcorn alum. He had been accepted academically at the university already, and playing baseball for them was just icing on the cake.
“I was ready to jump on it,” Johnson said. “It’s close to home, it’s not too far. My dad is an alumni. So as soon as they called me I was ready to go.”
Johnson added that getting a chance to play Division I baseball is “a dream come true.”
“It feels pretty good. It has always been a dream to be a D-I player. Not everybody gets a chance to be a D-I player,” he said. “A lot of people say to go juco first, but that’s just a saying. I feel like I took the better route to go D-I. It’s just a dream come true.”
Alcorn State has endured one of the worst seasons in program history in 2022. Its 21-2 loss to Southern University on Thursday night was its 14th in a row and dropped the season record to 2-37. Opponents have scored 10 runs or more in 35 of the 39 games the Braves have played.
Johnson, though, wasn’t scared off by the team’s struggles. He looked at it as a chance to duplicate what he and McCroy did at Vicksburg. The Gators went 8-15 when they were freshmen, but steadily improved and finished 18-9 and won the MHSAA Region 4-5A championship in their senior year.
“That doesn’t matter to me. I feel like I can change it. I can become a leader there. I can turn the whole team around — not just myself, but I can get the boys to follow my lead,” Johnson said.“Coach Calvin came here when I was in ninth grade and the team was down. As the years went on our record kept getting better and better, and this year we won the district championship. So I look at it the same way.”
While Johnson is staying close to home, McCroy was eager for a chance to spread his wings. He signed with Mountain View, a junior college in Dallas, Texas, largely because it offered a chance to leave Vicksburg while also staying close to family.
“My mom stays up there. I was ready to get away from Mississippi, so I found somewhere closer to her,” McCroy said.
McCroy was Vicksburg’s leading hitter this season, with a .479 batting average. The outfielder drove in 23 runs and scored 31 more. Calvin said his best on-field attribute was a knack for coming through in the clutch.
“He’s a silent leader, but his performance speaks for itself. The kid never gave up, never gave in. His demeanor was always the same whether he was up or down,” Calvin said. “He was always a guy we could count on to drive in a few runs for us, and to really get us back in contention. Even in games we were losing, one big hit from him could change the outlook of that game or that inning.”