Locals to play together in All-Star gamePublished 12:01am Wednesday, May 16, 2012
NATCHEZ — This year’s MAIS Class AA All-Star baseball game will be a class reunion of sorts for a number of local athletes.
Adams County Christian School pitcher Jake Brumfield, Trinity Episcopal pitcher Jake Winston, Centreville Academy catcher Tyler Towles and Centreville pitchers Hunter Devall and Cliff Hurst were all selected to play for the South squad at 5 p.m. May 25 in Jackson. ACCS baseball coach Hunter McKeivier was selected as the head coach for the South squad.
In Winston’s case, the chance to team up with the other local guys is a good way to cap off his high school career, he said.
“I played with Jake my whole life, either with him or against him,” Winston said. “I’ve played with Towles since I was 10 years old, and I played against Devall all of my life. To finally be on the same team with all these guys, I’m just ready to go out and see what we can do.”
Brumfield also said the chance to team up with the Trinity and Centreville players will be exciting for him.
“I grew up playing ball with these guys, so to play one last time with them will be a great experience,” Brumfield said.
For both Winston and Brumfield, making the senior-only All-Star team was a goal ever since high school ball began.
“My cousin, Luke Brumfield, won the MVP in 2008,” Brumfield said. “I was in eighth grade then, and I’ve wanted to make the team ever since.”
Winston said he made sure to gradually improve at pitching each season in order to have a chance to make All-Stars.
“It was a goal of mine since freshman year, and now I’ve reached it,” Winston said. “I tried to take it year by year. Every year, I wanted to get better. You just have to play to the best of your ability — make it worth it, no regrets.”
Centreville head coach Jason Horne said all three of the players selected for All-Stars played a critical role in his team winning the MAIS Class AA state title.
Horne was very complimentary of the work Towles did at catcher throughout his high school career.
“He’s started ever since he was a freshman, and he’s caught a lot of very good pitchers throughout the years,” Horne said.
“He’s just a tough kid, mentally and physically. People don’t realize he throws just as many pitches as the pitcher, going back and forth. There were times where we’d have doubleheaders, and to sit back there in the head and squat down that many times, it’s impressive.”
Horne also said Towles was a shutdown catcher defensively.
“Maybe five people ran on him,” Horne said. “The presence of knowing that, if they run, he’ll throw you out, it means a lot.”
While most teams are happy to have an ace, Horne said Devall and Hurst both played that role for the Tigers’ pitching staff.
“We really didn’t have a one and two,” Horne said. “Devall was always our Tuesday starter, and Hurst stepped it up for us big-time this year.”
Even though the Tigers had several younger arms on the team, Horne said having Hurst and Devall wanting to take the ball in big games meant that the other pitchers saw limited action.
“In the Brookhaven Academy series, when our third pitcher had a ribcage problem, they just stepped up and wanted the ball,” Horne said. “Their attitude was, we’re not going to get beat. We’re just going to do what we have to do to win.”