Sports column: Mims, Lewis took long paths to baseball success

Published 8:00 am Monday, March 13, 2023

Coming out of high school, the career trajectories of Warren Central baseball teammates Davon “P.J.” Mims and Shane Lewis couldn’t have seemed more different.

Mims was a starting center fielder with speed to spare, but rarely batted. Lewis was a starting third baseman with power, and earned a scholarship to Southeastern Conference power Mississippi State.

Over the past two years, however, their paths have been quite similar. Both players had to claw their way to Division I success after taking a detour to the junior college level, and have become not only successful but among the best in all of college baseball.

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Mims spent one season at Jackson State and another at Mississippi Delta Community College before landing at Valley in 2022. He slid into the lineup as the Delta Devils’ starting left fielder and did well, batting .331 in 35 games.

This season, Mims is doing even better. Through 12 games he’s batting .356 and has 21 stolen bases — the most of any player in Division I.

Mims has at least two stolen bases in seven games and also leads the country with 1.75 steals per game. If he can maintain that pace until the end of the season it would be the best rate of any Division I player since 1988. Texas Southern’s Johnathon Thomas led the country last season with 1.17 steals per game.

After signing with Mississippi State in November 2019, Lewis didn’t stay long. He redshirted in 2021 when the Bulldogs won the national championship and entered the transfer portal soon after the College World Series.

Lewis went to Chipola College in Florida and showed off his talent by leading the team in home runs (15) and RBIs (68). He got a second chance at Division I with Troy University in Alabama, and is blossoming as a star.

A quarter of the way through the season, Lewis is leading the country with 29 RBIs and is tied for sixth with eight home runs. He also ranks 11th in slugging percentage (1.024) and has a .372 batting average.

Lewis’ eight home runs have already tied what Troy’s team leader finished with last season. Just as important, he’s helped the Trojans jump out to an 11-2 start heading into this weekend’s road series at Central Florida.

While both Mims and Lewis should make their friends and family in Vicksburg proud, they also serve as reminders that there are many different paths to success. Whether with speed or power, even if it takes you to some places you never thought you’d go, if you find your talents and keep plugging along when the road is blocked you can achieve your goals.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

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 reporters in the paper's 140-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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