Former Trinity Episcopal baseball player becomes head coach of ACCS

Published 7:45 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2020

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NATCHEZ — The last time Jake Winston played baseball in the Miss-Lou was in 2011 when he was a high-school pitcher for the Trinity Episcopal School Saints and they won their first-ever state title in baseball.

Trinity beat Winona Christian Academy and swept the two state championship games. In the second championship game, Winston hit two home runs for the Saints.

In 2019, Winston came to assist the Adams County Christian School Rebels baseball team.

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“I didn’t have any plans of coaching,” Winston said. “Matthew Freeman and David King came to me and asked if I wanted to be the head coach. I took the position. I was pretty excited about it. It seemed like a great opportunity to begin coaching, since it’s going to be my career path.”

As the Rebels head coach, Winston said he has to remember he’s not talking to the high school players like they are professional baseball players or collegiate baseball players.

“I have to remember to take a step back sometimes, remember these are kids and they are still learning,” Winston said. “I can’t jump ahead for some things. You really have to take one step at a time and start at the basics.”

After playing in college at Southern Mississippi University, Winston was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016.

From 2016-2018, Winston played for seven different minor league teams within the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The furthest Winston reached was the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Diamondbacks.

The Triple-A is one step before a player plays in the MLB. With the Aces, Winston won one game, struck out one batter and threw three walks.

“It was a lot of fun playing at the Triple-A level,” Winston said. “I think one of the first batters I faced was a 10-year major league veteran. I got him out on two pitches and that’s a favorite memory of mine. I always encourage anyone if they get to the Triple-A to soak it in and take advantage of it.”

From late November to now, Jack Whitehead, Rhet McDonald and other ACCS baseball players have learned how to be better baseball players from Winston.

“Winston has taught me how to keep my head up, give 110% effort through everything and always know someone is going to have your back,” Whitehead said.

For the Rebels (4-2) at the plate, Whitehead has hit four singles and one double. He has scored five RBIs.

On the mound, McDonald has struck out 10 batters and given up five hits in seven and two-third innings pitched.

“Winston has taught me how to slow the game down and go at my own pace,” McDonald said. “By taking it slow, it doesn’t allow the batters to take the momentum away.”

With being a first-year head coach, Winston said he hopes to give all of the knowledge he has learned in his baseball career to the Rebels.

“I want baseball to be big in our area,” Winston said. “I feel like baseball is fading away slowly and I don’t want that to happen. Baseball has impacted me in a positive manner and I know it can impact other kids. I want to impact as many kids as I can through coaching.”