He led the Atlanta Braves in home runs, slugging, OPS and WAR. He broke a team record for extra base hits held by Hank Aaron. He made his first All-Star Game and finished sixth in National League MVP voting. He also was rewarded with a 10-year, $212 million contract. Austin Riley’s 2022 season was an amazing one, making the DeSoto Central High product an easy choice for the annual Cool Papa Bell Award, given here for the best performance in MLB by a Mississippian (native or school alum). In his eighth pro season — he spent parts of 2017 and ’18 with the Mississippi Braves — third baseman Riley batted .273 with 38 homers, 93 RBIs and 90 runs for the NL East champion Braves. He also has become a leader in the clubhouse. “The person he is, the player, the individual, it’s just everything that embodies the Atlanta Braves,” manager Brian Snitker told sbnation.com last summer. It’s the second straight year Riley has won the Bell, which honors the Negro Leagues legend who was the first Mississippi native to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Other winners include Tim Anderson (twice), Corey Dickerson (twice), Mitch Moreland, Brian Dozier (twice), Desmond Jennings, Lance Lynn, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Chris Coghlan. P.S. Former M-Braves star Ronald Acuna won the Venezuelan Winter League’s Home Run Derby on Monday night with a dramatic clincher that set off a wild celebration in the stadium at Caracas. … Ex-Southern Miss star Kirk McCarty reportedly will sign with SSG Landers of the Korean Baseball Organization. McCarty, recently released by Cleveland, made his MLB debut in 2022 and posted a 4.54 ERA in 13 games for the Guardians.