Local athletes get scholarships

Published 12:01 am Sunday, January 29, 2012

It’s always nice to see a local prep star receive accolades, and there have been a number of them getting some of the best recognition possible lately.

Last week, three local athletes signed to play softball and baseball at the next level.

Cathedral High School’s Beth Fortenbery signed to play softball for Copiah-Lincoln Community College. ACCS’s Jake Brumfield and Cathedral’s Caleb Upton signed to play baseball at Pearl River and Hinds community colleges, respectively.

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That doesn’t include several local athletes who are slated to sign letters of intent to play football at the next level on National Signing Day Wednesday.

While it’s certainly nothing new for Miss-Lou athletes to be given scholarship offers, seeing so many of these prep athletes get the chance to continue their playing careers never stops being a good story.

Just ask Brumfield, who’s wanted to play college baseball his entire life, and who said the road to realizing that dream isn’t a road that’s easily traveled.

“It really takes a lot of heart,” Brumfield said Friday. “A lot of people don’t want to do it, which amazes me. It’s a decision you have to make when you’re little. If you want to do it, you have to put a lot into it. If you don’t work for it, I guarantee it won’t happen.”

In rare instances, there are athletes that are so incredibly gifted that they may not have to work as hard as others, and they’ll still get the chance to play in college.

But if those athletes don’t put in the hard work at the next level, they’ll be in for a rude awakening, since all of the other players at that level are either just as good as them, or better.

Those athletes will then discover what many prep athletes already know, that the only way to the top is through a level of dedication where anything less than 100 percent simply won’t cut it.

So when a player gets a chance to continue his or her playing career, more often than not, signing on the dotted line of a letter of intent is the culmination of many trials and tribulations, blood, sweat and tears.

In the form of a piece of paper, it’s physical proof that all of the hard work was worth the effort. All of the hours spent in the weight room, all of the time on the practice field, the emotional highs of victory and emotional lows of defeat — it all led up to a chance to live to play another day.

For Brumfield, Fortenbery and Upton, and everyone else that has yet to sign a letter of intent, congratulations are in order. Having the inner peace of knowing you’ll definitely be playing beyond high school is something to cherish, since no athlete is promised that chance.

To quote legendary coach Paul W. Bryant, the price of victory is high, but so are the rewards. Enjoy those rewards, because y’all have earned it.



Michael Kerekes is the sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3632 or michael.kerekes@natchezdemocrat.com.