Nine (9) Pearl River baseball players named All-MACCC
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference announced its All-MACCC teams Tuesday evening, and the Pearl River baseball team earned an incredible nine selections.
Logan Walters (Petal), Cooper Cooksey (Waveland; Bay) and Will Passeau (Mobile, Ala.; St. Paul's) were named First Team. Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike), Triston Hickman (Wiggins; Stone County), Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) and Luke Lyon (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) picked up a Second Team honor. Cortez Dennis (Wiggins; Stone County) and Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) were Honorable Mention.
The right-handed hitting Walters was an imposing presence in the batter's box all season long. The redshirt sophomore finished the year with a .354 batting average, a .464 on-base percentage and a .574 slugging percentage. He was first on the Wildcats in both doubles and homers, with 20 and 12, respectively. He drove in 65 runs and scored 60. The left fielder walked 28 times and stole nine bases.
"We're so proud of Logan and his patience on focus on working to become the best player he could," Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. "He waited his turn and then made a huge impact. It's awesome to see this recognition for our captain and his family."
Cooksey missed the 2022 season due to an injury but made the most of his one season at The River. The South Alabama signee led the Wildcats in innings with 68 1/3 and grabbed a 9-1 record on the mound. He finished the year with a 1.32 ERA, the lowest among PRCC pitchers who registered at least 30 innings pitched since 2005, when Corey Bass had a mark of 1.84. Cooksey's ERA was also the lowest in the NJCAA. He registered 64 strikeouts on the campaign.
"What an incredible year for Coop," Avalon said. "After the injury coming out of high school, his determination and work ethic allowed him to perform at an unbelievable level with the lowest ERA in one of the most offensive conferences in the country."
Passeau's season was dominant from start to finish. The Mississippi State signee ended the year with a 2.26 ERA across 67 2/3 innings pitched. He racked up 87 strikeouts to just 28 walks and ended the year with a 9-4 record. His 2.26 ERA was 10th best in the nation. Although Passeau won the award as a pitcher, he shined as a hitter for the Wildcats. He registered only 72 at-bats but had a .306 batting average with four homers, two doubles, eight walks and 17 RBIs. He scored 19 runs.
"Will threw a lot of tough and big innings for us this year," Avalon said. "He threw the first game of the season, the first game of conference play and the first game of the regional — he set the tone every time. It starts on the mound, and Will always wanted the baseball."
A Tennessee signee, Perry was a staple in the middle of the Wildcat order all season long, finishing with a .368 batting average, 74 hits, 67 runs, 62 RBIs, 37 walks, 16 doubles, nine homers and two triples.
"The most impressive thing about Alex this year was that he played the entire year with a broken finger and still managed to put up impactful numbers," Avalon said. "He changed positions in the middle of the year and still managed to add to one of the most impressive careers in Wildcat history."
Hickman didn't begin the year as the everyday designated hitter, but he ran with it once he won the job. The Delta State signee hit .389 with a team-high .713 slugging percentage. He hit nine doubles, eight homers and one triple while driving in 33 runs and scoring 35 more. He walked 22 times.
"Triston is a young man that simply deserved this," Avalon said. "Good things happen to good people. Hick could have gotten frustrated and just gone through the year; instead, he kept working and finished strong."
The left-handed-hitting Montz ended his sophomore season with a .297 batting average while driving in 51 runs. He collected 12 doubles, 10 homers and three triples. He walked 37 times and was second on the team in stolen bases with 22.
"For two years in a row, Ian was one of the most dangerous hitters in our conference," Avalon said. "Ian stepped up for our program time and time again with big hits and big plays. He impacted all phases of the game during his career and will be missed."
Down the stretch, Lyon stepped up in some of the most significant situations for the Wildcats. The right-handed pitcher was stellar on the year, finishing with a 2.03 ERA across 62 innings pitched. He struck out 75 batters and walked only 16 on the way to a perfect 7-0 record. Lyon's ERA was seventh-best in the country this season.
"The impact Luke Lyon had on our season is evident by the impressive numbers he accumulated on the mound," Avalon said. "What was more impressive was his impact on our team with his energy and every present example of an extreme competitor. Every day, Luke Lyon was the same guy."
Although Broadus missed most of the second half of the season, his impact at the beginning of the year was incredible. The Southern Miss signee had a .364 batting average with nine doubles, two triples and one homer in just 37 games. He had also stolen 19 bases. He ends his Pearl River career second all-time in career stolen bases with 59.
"Losing Gabe to injury was such a blow for our team and affected so many areas," Avalon said. "Gabe never faltered in his support and confidence in his teammates. It says so much to see Gabe recognized by opposing coaches with this honor. It's well deserved."
Dennis had just one season in the maroon and gold but made the most of it. The 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher had a 3.10 ERA in 58 innings pitched for a perfect 8-0 record. He struck out 62 batters and walked only 16.
"From start to finish this season, Cortez was the most consistent pitcher on our staff," Avalon said. "Watching him mature and develop this year was so rewarding as a coach. He helped make this one of the best pitching staffs in the county."