22 May

you can look it up

As the MHSAA state finals roll on at Pearl’s Trustmark Park, here are some amazing prep stats to ponder courtesy of the Mississippi Baseball Record Book, produced by John W. Smillie of Corinth. Louis Clark of Shannon High, better known for his football exploits, set the single-season record for batting average at .759 in 1983. Clark’s older brother Dave, a former big leaguer who now coaches third base for the Detroit Tigers, holds the home run record with 23, set at Shannon in 1980. Silento Sayles’ 103 steals for Port Gibson in 2013 is an eye-popping number, and so is Dillon Owens’ streak of reaching base in 16 straight plate appearances for D’Iberville in 2007. Ditto for Jeff Rutland’s 13 RBIs in a game for Enterprise in 1990 and Heath Graham’s 60 career homers for Stringer. Richy Harrelson, recently named head coach at Northeast Mississippi Community College, had 251 career hits at Iuka/Tishomingo County AND 71 career wins. The most impressive pitching feat might be Randolph Salters’ 366 strikeouts for Mooreville in 1985, when he won a state record 25 games. Then again, Chris Taranto of Notre Dame-Biloxi threw 10 no-hitters back in 1961. Former New York Mets first-round draft pick Kirk Presley of Tupelo posted a 0.60 career ERA. Hattiesburg’s Jermaine Van Buren, who pitched in the majors, and David Sanders of Columbia each fanned 21 batters in a seven-inning game, and David Stevens of Ackerman blew away 29 in a game that went 14 innings in 2002. Sure, they say records are meant to be broken, but when it comes to many of these, forget about it.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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