Ten Vicksburg-area players selected for All-State baseball teams

Published 10:24 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

Vickaburg-area high school baseball teams were able to fill out a full lineup card on Mississippi’s all-state lists.

A total of 10 players — five from Warren Central, one from Porter’s Chapel Academy, and four from Tallulah Academy — were selected to the all-state teams in their respective classifications by the Mississippi Association of Coaches and Mid-South Association of Indpendent Schools.

Warren Central’s run to the state championship series netted it five spots on the MAC All-MHSAA Class 6A list. Infielders Maddox Lynch and Conner Watkins, as well as pitcher Brooks Willoughby, were on the first team. Second baseman Ryan Nelson and right fielder Cade Fairley made the second team.

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Watkins (Copiah-Lincoln Community College), Willoughby (Southern Miss), Nelson (East Central CC) and Fairley (Hinds CC) all signed in November to play college baseball.

Lynch is a junior. The third baseman and pitcher batted .284 with 12 doubles, three home runs, 31 RBIs and 26 runs scored.

The five players helped Warren Central to a 19-13 record and its first appearance in the state championship series since 2001. The Vikings were swept by George County in the finals, losing both games by 3-2 scores.

In the MAIS, Porter’s Chapel Academy’s John Wyatt Massey added an All-MAIS baseball selection to the one he got for football last fall. Massey, who played catcher, first base and pitcher, made the Class 3A team as a utility player. He has signed with Coahoma Community College to play baseball.

Massey led the Eagles to an 18-12 record by batting .382 with seven home runs, eight doubles, 35 RBIs and 36 runs scored. On the mound, he went 6-5 with a 3.88 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings pitched.

Tallulah Academy’s All-MAIS Class 2A players were pitcher Hayes Hopkins, catcher Gage Palmer, infielder J.T. McDaniel and utility player Luke Moberley.

Like Massey, Palmer made the All-MAIS baseball team after being selected to the All-MAIS football team. He led the Trojans with a .458 batting average, with eight doubles, four triples and two home runs. He also led the team with 36 RBIs and scored 34 runs. Palmer also pitched and had a 3.91 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings.

Hopkins, McDaniel and Moberley were all were dual threats on the mound and at the plate.

Hopkins had a 6-2 record on the mound, with a 2.82 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings. He batted .456 with 34 RBIs and 42 runs scored, and had 48 stolen bases.

McDaniel was the Trojans’ ace, with a team-high 58 2/3 innings pitched. He finished with a 6-4 record, three saves, a 2.62 ERA and 77 strikeouts. McDaniel played shortstop and catcher when he wasn’t pitching and batted .408 with three home runs, 32 RBIs and 42 runs scored. He also hit a team-high 10 doubles.

Moberley played shortstop and first base when he wasn’t pitching and batted .432 with 21 RBIs and 40 runs scored. On the mound, he was 5-0 with two saves, a 3.09 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 34 innings.

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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