Rebels hit diamond

Published 12:01 am Saturday, February 11, 2012

ROD GUAJARDO | The Natchez Democrat ACCS baseball player Jake Brumfield, left, throws a ball to Tyler Buckles during a practice Thursday afternoon.

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Christian School baseball team faces a daunting task this spring playing in MAIS South Double A.

Just in its district, the Rebels will face Trinity Episcopal, the defending Class A champions from last season, and Brookhaven Academy, which won the Double-A state title two years ago.

Also in the South is defending Double-A state champion Centreville Academy and South runner-up Central Private School.

“I don’t mean to disrespect anyone, but in my opinion, whoever wins South Double-A will win the state title,” ACCS head coach Hunter McKeivier said. “There are too many good teams with great players in this area.”

Because of that, McKeivier said his team cannot afford to sleepwalk at any point in the season.

“Every single day, we have to get better,” he said. “If we play to our ability, we’re just as good as those teams. Any given day, you can win, so you don’t ever go into a game expecting to be beaten.”

ACCS returns seven seniors: Christopher Perry, Jake Brumfield, Tyler Brumfield, Johnny Smith, Chris Carrell, Ethan Loyed and Tanner Martin. McKeivier said he will depend heavily on those seven to provide leadership.

Brumfield and Perry will headline the Rebels’ group of seniors. When he’s not pitching, Brumfield will get playing time at third and first, while Perry will see playing time at catcher primarily.

“Both of them are returning from great years last year, and they’re great power hitters with great eyes for the ball,” McKeivier said. “They have great approaches to the plate.”

McKeivier also said he’s been impressed with freshman pitcher Wade Simpson, though Simpson still has to refine some of his pitches.

“In our live pitching and batting sessions, he’s been throwing pretty well,” McKeivier said. “He still needs to get a little better with his command and endurance.”

McKeivier also said he expects Carrell to have a breakout year and step up as the No. 2 hitter. Carrell, Smith, Martin and Loyed are expected to round out the ptiching behind Brumfield.

ACCS has been practicing since Jan. 1, but McKeivier said he still doesn’t have a full squad yet.

“We’re sort of shorthanded right now (in practice) due to the basketball and soccer playoffs,” McKeivier said. “We haven’t been able to get together as a full team except maybe three or four times.”

Right now, the focus in practice has been defense after working on hitting for the first few weeks, McKeivier said.

“There were times last year where our defense really let us down,” McKeivier said. “We’re trying to change that aspect to really make us better.”

ACCS will play in the Brookhaven Tournament next week for a series of exhibition games. The Rebels’ regular season begins Feb. 20 at Central Private.