Marion County proved to be brimming with prep baseball talent once again with three teams making the playoffs, including West Marion making it to south state.
Now the players are being recognized for their contributions on the diamond, and 15 were named to all-state or all-district teams.
Pearl River Community College signee and recent West Marion graduate Shelby Terrell tops the list after being selected as the Class 3A Player of the Year in Mississippi. The righty whose fastball tops out in the low 90s compiled an 11-1 record with a 1.38 ERA and 119 strikeouts to only 11 walks in 81 1/3 innings. He also hit .291 with two home runs, 20 RBI, 23 runs scored and six stolen bases offensively.
Terrell said it means a lot to be recognized and that he has always strived to be the best.
“I had thought about it a couple of times, but I never thought I’d get it or anything like that. When I found out, I was pretty excited about it,” he said.
Terrell said he is aiming to be a starter from day one with the Wildcats next season and he’s looking forward to playing with talented ball players that will push him to be better as well as former teammate Trace McNabb.
Columbia’s Aiden Singley also received prestigious all-state honors as a Class 3A first-team selection. The junior hit a team-best .408 with a homer and 14 RBI and also went 3-3 with a 3.32 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings on the mound.
Also representing the Wildcats are second-team picks Alex Morgan and Javen Moses. Morgan hit .328 as Columbia’s leadoff man with a homer and 16 RBI, and Moses hit .371 with two long balls, two triples and 20 RBI. Moses doubled as the staff ace and went 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings.
West Marion shortstop and pitcher Jayden Duncan and Trojans catcher Clay Blocker were tabbed for the all-state second team as well. Duncan led the Trojans with a .411 average, three homers, 14 doubles and 35 RBI and went 3-2 with a 3.32 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings. Blocker clubbed three homers as well and hit .301 with 26 RBI while handling one of the pitching staffs in 3A behind the plate.
Columbia Academy junior Slade Wilks may not have had as prolific of a season as he did as a sophomore, but his efforts were still plenty good enough to be named the MAIS AAA District 4 Most Valuable Player. The slugger and Southern Miss commit hit .414 with 12 homers, 29 RBI and 13 stolen bases to lead the Cougars to 17 wins this year.
“It’s a very special accomplishment,” Wilks said. “It just kind of shows that all the hard work that I do is being paid off.”
Wilks said he would like to get his second state title his senior year more than anything and also break the CA single season home record, which he shares with his cousin Luke McKenzie, of 15. Wilks is participating in showcases for Perfect Game and Under Armour this summer and hopes to be named as an All-American.
Also pegged from Columbia Academy are first team all-district selections outfielder Drew Havard, first baseman Colby Thompson, third baseman Ras Pace and outfielder Riles Stuart. Havard hit .273 with 12 RBI, but his best work came as a rangy center fielder who consistently took away extra-base hits. Thompson hit .321 with one home run, 25 RBI and a .426 on-base percentage. Pace slugged five homers, including three in a two-week stretch, to go along with his .276 average and 19 RBI, and Stuart hit .303 with two homers and 25 RBI.
CA’s Kyle Herring and Tate Duncan were selected to the second team for their work as the Cougars’ top two arms on the mound. Herring went 6-1 with a 2.10 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 40 innings and even tossed a complete game no-hitter against Ben’s Ford Christian March 7. Tate Duncan compiled a 5-2 record with a 2.55 ERA and struck out 50 batters in 46 2/3 innings.
At East Marion, Devin Daniels and Jaquarious Jones both slugged their way onto the Region 8-1A first team. Daniels led Marion County in both hitting (.558 average) and stolen bases (23). He also had three home runs, four triples and 17 RBI. Jones hit .488 with two long balls and 20 RBI.
Pictured Above: Columbia Academy's launches a three-run homer against Wayne Academy. | Photo by Joshua Campbell