Sophomore Ben Pace of Philadelphia and mathematics instructor Jenna Wright of Madden represented East Central Community College in Decatur at the 2015-16 Higher Education Appreciation Day: Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) program held Tuesday, Feb. 2, in Jackson.
The annual HEADWAE observance was established by the Mississippi Legislature to honor academically talented students and faculty members from each of the 36 public and private member institutions of the Mississippi Association of Colleges.
Pace is a pre-dental major and a graduate of Neshoba Central High School. A Dean’s List scholar, he was selected for Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities and was named to the Phi Theta Kappa All-Mississippi Academic Team.
He serves as president of the Presidents Council, co-president of Warrior Corps and Phi Theta Kapa, and is a member of the Concert Choir, Phi Beta Lambda, Sigma Sigma Mu Tau and Students Against Destructive Decisions. He is a former member of the Wall O’ Sound Band and Ac’cents Show Choir.
He is the son of Derek and Patty Pace of Philadelphia.
Wright has been employed at the college since 2012.
She earned the bachelor’s degree in math education at Troy University and completed a master’s in statistics at Mississippi State University.
She is a former graduate teaching assistant at Mississippi State.
She and her husband, Eric, reside in Madden.
Honorees were invited to the State Capitol where they were welcomed by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and recognized in each legislative chamber.
A luncheon was also held at the Jackson Marriott Hotel in downtown Jackson, during which each student and faculty honoree was recognized in front of their guests, institution leaders, corporate sponsors and legislators.
In addition to the public recognition, a booklet was published featuring photos and biographical sketches of each honoree.
A new sign is being installed on the outfield wall of the East Central Community College Clark/Gay Baseball Complex in Decatur. It touts the baseball program’s history of state and region post-season tournament appearances and championships.
A trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II College World Series is something that has yet to be accomplished in ECCC’s long baseball history, but Head Coach Neal Holliman wants his players to believe that the 720-mile trip to Enid, Okla., site of the World Series, is always a possibility if they achieve their potential as players and individuals.
“Our program goal always is to get to the state tournament,” explained Holliman, who is entering his 10th season as East Central’s head baseball coach. “But while winning the state tournament is good, we want to do that while also winning our region and getting to the College World Series in Oklahoma.
“More importantly, as a program, we want each of our players to play to the best of their ability every day. Everything else will take care of itself. We want to maximize the potential of each and every young man on our team. We may have a second place team and finish second, and I will be happy. But if we have a World Series quality team and not get there, then we haven’t done our job as coaches.”
The Diamond Warriors will put their ability to test as they take to the diamond to begin the 2016 season Tuesday, Feb. 9, hosting Bishop State Community College out of Mobile, Ala., in doubleheader action that begins at 2 p.m. at the Clark/Gay Baseball Complex on the Decatur campus.
Holliman’s 2015 Diamond Warrior squad finished 26-17 overall and 18-10 in Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges league play, good enough for fifth place among the 15 teams. East Central’s season came to an end in the quarterfinals of the MACJC State Playoffs at Meridian.
A strong nucleus of players returns for the Diamond Warriors heading into the 2016 season, including five sophomores who have signed to continue their college careers next year at NCAA Division I and II universities.
Anchoring the infield will be shortstop Dylan Snypes, who will play at Oral Roberts University next season. The Wayne County High School product, who hit .275 last spring with four doubles and 11 RBI, is known for his defensive skills.
“Dylan is one of the best, if not the best, shortstop in our league when you take into account the whole package,” said Holliman, who guided East Central to the 2007 MACJC State Tournament title. “He is a good runner, left-handed hitter, and possesses a true shortstop arm. He’s also gotten a lot stronger and we expect more production this season with the bat as well.”
Michael Davis, a product of Clinton High School and an MACJC Second Team All-State selection last season, returns behind the plate. The Southern Arkansas University signee hit .323 with 20 RBI in 40 games last season and only committed four errors in 276 chances behind the plate for a .986 fielding percentage.
“Michael is as good a catcher as there is in our league,” noted Holliman. “But the best part about Michael is his competitive nature. He also provides a lot versatility in that he can catch and play in the outfield if needed.”
Back to provide experience in the outfield is Reagan Warren, who can play both left and right field. The former Newton County High School standout played in only 24 games last season due to injury, but hit .329 in limited action.
“Reagan played well last year, but we believe he’ll play better this season,” explained Holliman. “He played in a wooden bat league this summer to improve his offense and will bat in the middle of the order for us this season.”
The strength of this year’s East Central baseball team could be the pitching staff, with several quality arms returning to the mound for the Diamond Warriors.
Right-hander Josh Carpenter out of Winona High School returns after pitching 41 innings last season, mostly in middle relief. Holliman said that if he can keep the 6-5, 240-pound Carpenter in the bullpen and out of the starting lineup, it is a bonus for ECCC.
“If we can get the ball to Josh in the fourth or fifth inning we think we’ll win the game,” said Holliman. “So we hope our starters will produce and we can keep him coming in out of the bullpen this year.”
Also returning on the mound are University of Tennessee Martin signee Peyton Cain, a right-hander from Newton County High School who pitched in 12 games last season and who will be in the starting rotation; Taylor Creighton, a 6-3, 225-pound right-handed pitcher out of Quitman High School, who is coming off Tommy John surgery and will be a conference starter; right-hander Channing Wall, a University of North Alabama signee out of Louisville High School who is slated to be a closer out of the bullpen; and Matt Mitchell, a left-hander out of Lake High School and a Delta State University signee.
Wall pitched in 13 games in 2015 with a 2-2 record and 20 strikeouts in 27 and two third innings. Mitchell pitched 23 innings in nine games, including three starts. He also played in 18 games in the outfield, batting .316 with eight RBI.
“Taylor’s arm is doing great after the surgery and he gives us some versatility,” said Holliman. “He can play first and third base as well as pitch and he has a strong bat. Matt is a two-way guy who is just a winner. He’s as remarkable a young an as I’ve been around and also gives us options since he can play left and right field.”
Also back is right-hander Mason Wooldridge out of West Lauderdale High School, a side-arm pitcher expected to throw a lot of innings during different times of the game.
Holliman will depend on several newcomers to fill the gap left by four starters who are now playing for four-year universities. Last year’s first baseman Cody Daigle is slated to be the opening day first baseman for Louisiana Tech this spring. Last year’s No. 1 pitcher and First Team All-State selection Will Myers is now on the mound for the University of Alabama Huntsville. Last season’s third baseman Dylan Little now plays for the University of West Alabama. Ben Cooley, who was named to the NJCAA Rawlings Gold Glove Team in 2015 for his defensive play in center field, is playing for the University of North Alabama. Relief pitcher and backup catcher Lane Fazende took his talents to William Carey University.
Among the new players expected to contribute on the mound include right-handed pitcher Brock Morris of West Jones High School and left-hander Luke Yancey, who pitched for East Rankin Academy last spring.
“These men will fill vital roles whether starters or long relief guys,” said Holliman. “The will throw vital innings for us.”
Billy Cameron, a product of Mendenhall High School, is competing for the third base job for the Diamond Warriors this year after redshirting last season. Cole Prestegard, a 6-3, 223-pound product of Huntsville High School (Ala.) who bats from the left side, is in the running for the job at first base. Blake Paben out of Madison Central High School will see playing time in the outfield.
East Central’s schedule includes a doubleheader against each of the other 14 MACJC teams. The top eight teams in league play will advance to the state playoffs for four, best-of-three series. Those four winners advance to the state tournament.
The Diamond Warriors pre-conference schedule will include a tournament in Niceville, Fla., including a matchup against Northwest Florida Community College, the defending National Junior College Athletic Association Division I World Series Champion.
East Central will also host the EC Invitational at the Clark/Gay Baseball Complex on Campus Feb. 19-21.
Members of the 2016 East Central Community College baseball squad include (first row, from left) manager Quinzell Thomas of Mendenhall High School, freshman outfielder/pitcher Luke Yancey of East Rankin Academy, freshman catcher Zach Parker of Quitman High School, freshman outfielder Johntrell Pickens of Philadelphia High School, freshman infielder Nathan Roseberry of Purvis High School, freshman infielder Blake Morton of Madison Central High School, freshman pitcher Hagan Brown of Gautier High School, freshman pitcher Brock Morris of West Jones High School, sophomore catcher Michael Davis of Clinton High School, sophomore pitcher Channing Wall of Louisville High School, and manager Titus Benson of Grenada High School; (second row, from left) head coach Neal Holliman, assistant coach Jake Rowell, freshman pitcher/outfielder Tyler Ladner of Pass Christian High School, freshman pitcher Peyton Lott of Seminary High School, freshman outfielder Blake Paben of Madison Central High School, sophomore outfielder Reagan Warren of Newton County High School, sophomore pitcher Mason Woodridge of West Lauderdale High School, freshman catcher/first baseman Ty Alderman of Newton County Academy, freshman pitcher Brock Morris of West Jones High School, sophomore outfielder Jacob Huff of Puckett High School, sophomore pitcher Braden Peterson of Western Texas College, assistant coach Tyler Buckley; and (back row, from left) sophomore infielder William Kennedy of Union High School, sophomore outfielder T.J. Lockett of Bibb County High School (Ala.), sophomore infielder Dylan Snypes of Wayne County High School, freshman pitcher/infielder Taylor Creighton of Quitman High School, sophomore infielder Joshua Carpenter of Winona High School, freshman infielder Cole Prestegard of Huntsville High School (Ala.), freshman pitcher Christian Bellew of Gulfport High School, sophomore pitcher Peyton Cain of Newton County High School, freshman infielder Billy Cameron of Mendenhall High School, and sophomore pitcher/outfielder Matthew Mitchell of Lake High School. (EC Photo)
The East Central Community College Lady Warriors have not lost a basketball game in two months, and extended their winning streak to a dozen with a 56-44 win over the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Lady Bulldogs on Thursday, Feb. 4, in Perkinston.
The MACJC South Division win kept the Lady Warriors in first place in the division by a game over Copiah-Lincoln and Southwest Mississippi. East Central and Copiah-Lincoln will meet Monday, Feb. 8, in Decatur.
The East Central Lady Warriors have not lost since Dec. 7, 2015. Their 17-2 overall record is tied for the best in the MACJC.
Sophomore guard Samantha Duncan paced the Lady Warriors in the win over Gulf Coast. The Oak Grove High School product led all scorers with 22 points. She also had a game-high 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Miracle Duncan out of Meridian High School added 16 points to go with eight rebounds and five steals.
East Central had 19 steals in the contest and scored 25 points off Gulf Coast turnovers.
East Central won the first meeting between the two teams in January in Decatur 91-47.
The East Central Lady Warriors improved to 17-2 overall and 9-1 in the MACJC South Division. The Gulf Coast Lady Bulldogs dropped to 10-9 overall and 2-8 the South Division.
In the second game, it was all Gulf Coast Bulldogs as they raced to a 94-79 win to complete the season sweep over East Central.
The game was close in the opening minutes before Gulf Coast went on a 15-0 run to take a 27-13 lead. The Warriors never could get back in the game, trailing by 15 at the half and by as many as 20 in the second half. East Central did go on a 14-0 run midway through the second half to cut the lead to five, but could not get any closer.
Sophomore guard Ravion Henry out of Leake Central High School led East Central with 20 points. Keion Peoples out of Memphis Ridgeway added 17, Prince McDaniel of Pascagoula High School 14, and Tonzell Handy of Jackson Lanier 10.
The East Central Warriors fell to 11-8 overall on the season and 6-4 in MACJC South Division play. The Gulf Coast Bulldogs improved to 16-3 and 7-3 in the South Division.
The Warriors and Lady Warriors host MACJC South Division foe Copiah-Lincoln on Monday, Feb. 8. Tip-off times from Brackeen-Wood Gymnasium in Decatur are 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
East Central then travels to Utica on Thursday, Feb. 11, to face Hinds Community College in South Division action at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Listen to all East Central Community College basketball games at: http://850amwqst.com.
Women’s score by quarters:
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
ECCC 20 13 16 7 56
MGCCC 8 12 14 10 44
Men’s score by half:
1st 2nd Final
ECCC 34 45 79
MGCCC 49 45 94
The No. 2 East Central Community College softball team opened its 2016 season Feb. 4 with a doubleheader sweep over visiting Alabama Southern Community College at the Softball Complex in Decatur.
The Lady Diamond Warriors took game one 8-2 and then was victorious in the nightcap 7-2.
Coming off a 2015 season when they finished second in the nation at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Softball Championship, the ECCC Lady Diamond Warriors are ranked No. 2 in the first NJCAA rankings of the 2016 season.
Sophomore Lacey Hill got the win in the circle in the first game. The Kilbourne High School (La.) product and Southeastern Louisiana signee went all seven innings and gave up eight hits while striking out three batters.
East Central fell behind early in the opener 1-0, but outscored the visitors from Monroeville, Ala., 7-1 the rest of the way, including a four-run bottom of the sixth. The Lady Diamond Warriors got an RBI triple by Mahalia Gibson, an RBI double by Maegen Ellis, an RBI single from Andi Hannaford, and an RBI triple by Katlyn Duke in that sixth inning.
Duke, a product of Neshoba Central High School, led East Central in game one with three hits. Summer Lavender out of Canton Academy also had three hits. Ellis, a product of Oak Hill Academy in West Point, and Caitlyn Aldous, a product of Petal High School and a University of Southern Mississippi signee, each had two hits.
In the nightcap, East Central plated five runs in the bottom of the second to pull away from Alabama Southern. Gibson, an NJCAA First Team All-American last season and a Southeastern Louisiana signee, had two more hits in the second game to go with two RBI. Ellis, along with freshmen Brittney McCray of Sumrall High School, Elizabeth Frey of Purvis High School, and Courtney Moore of Clinton High School all had two hits in the win.
The Lady Diamond Warriors outhit the visitors on the day 28-13.
Sophomore Chloe Thaggard out of Leake Academy got the win in the circle, giving up five hits and striking out three in seven innings.
East Central returns to action Monday, Feb. 8, at 12:45 p.m. in doubleheader action at Baton Rouge Community College in Baton Rouge, La.
Following a doubleheader at Marion Military in Marion, Ala., on Wednesday, Feb. 10, the Lady Diamond Warriors return home to face rival East Mississippi Community in the annual “pink” Breast Cancer Awareness games Saturday Feb. 13. The doubleheader action from the Softball Park on the ECCC campus in Decatur begins at 1 p.m.
Fourteen East Central Community College football players were set to sign National Letters of Intent on National Signing Day Feb. 3 to continue their careers at four-year colleges and universities.
Derek Mahaffey, Devin McIntosh, and Jordan Thomas all signed Feb. 3 in the Brackeen-Wood Gymnasium on the ECCC campus in Decatur.
Mahaffey, a 6-2, 292 defensive lineman from Oxford High School, Ala., signed with the University of Tennessee Chattanooga; McIntosh, a 6-2, 189 wide receiver from Amory High School, signed with the University of West Alabama; and Jordan Thomas, a 6-6, 278 tight end from Sumrall High School, signed with Mississippi State University.
Additional ECCC players expected to sign with four-year colleges and universities Feb. 3 included:
Signing to continue their football careers at four-year universities during a ceremony in Brackeen-Wood Gymnasium on the East Central Community College campus Feb. 3 were (from left) Derek Mahaffey (6-2, 292 defensive lineman, Oxford High School, Ala.), University of Tennessee Chattanooga; Devin McIntosh (6-2, 189, wide receiver, Amory High School), University of West Alabama; and Jordan Thomas (6-6, 278, tight end, Sumrall High School), Mississippi State University. (EC Photo)
East Central Community College head football coach Ken Karcher announced the addition of 17 new members to the Warrior football team after National Signing Day Wednesday, Feb. 3.
The newcomers include 16 high school seniors and one junior college transfer.
East Central is coming off its best season in 16 years, including an 8-3 record, a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges playoff appearance, and a C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl championship.
Players signing with ECCC Feb. 3 include:
*Denotes junior college transfer.
East Central Community College instructors Chris Ryals and Chas Evans were recently nominated for the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC) instructor of the year award.
Ryals teaches drafting and design technology and has been employed at the college since 2011.
Evans teaches guitar and music classes and also serves as director of the Collegians rock and roll band. He joined the ECCC staff in 2014.
The two finalists will travel to the Creating Futures Through Technology conference in Biloxi March 2-4, 2016. All finalists from the 15 community colleges in Mississippi will be recognized at the MSVCC luncheon on March 2, where the recipient of the award will be announced.
The winner will receive a plaque and a $1,000 stipend courtesy of MSVCC.
For more information contact Dr. Krista LeBrun, dean of eLearning Education at ECCC, at email@example.com.
The sophomore members of the East Central Community College men’s soccer team received special recognition at the college’s Fall Sports Awards Banquet held recently on the Decatur campus. Sophomores who finished their ECCC careers after the fall 2015 season include (first row, from left) defender Jamar Simms of Pascagoula High School, defender Kellen Clark of Newton County High School in Decatur, midfielder Abi Rivera of Oxford High School, midfielder Omar Gutierrez of Mooreville High School, and forward Jacob Johnson of Destrehan High School (La.); (back row, from left) midfielder Lazaro Hernandez of Forest High School, midfielder Connor Brennan of Pearl High School, defender Carlos Gutierrez of Mooreville High School, and defender Durham Norman of Florence High School. (EC Photo)
Several members of the East Central Community College men’s soccer team were honored for their accomplishments during the 2015 season at the college’s Fall Sports Awards Banquet held recently on the Decatur campus. Pictured (first row, from left) are sophomore defender Jamar Simms of Pascagoula High School, Permanent Team Captain Award; sophomore defender Kellen Clark of Newton County High School in Decatur, Academic Award, Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Honorable Mention All-State, and Warrior Award; freshman midfielder Devon Pitts of George County High School in Lucedale, MACJC All-State; sophomore midfielder Omar Gutierrez of Mooreville High School, Team Most Valuable Player Award, MACJC All-State, and MACJC All-Star Team; and sophomore forward Jacob Johnson of Destrehan High School (La.), Golden Boot Award, National Junior College Athletic Association All-Region 23, and MACJC All-Star Team; (back row, from left) freshman defender Gage Leifried of Southeast Lauderdale High School in Meridian, Hustle Award; sophomore defender Carlos Gutierrez of Mooreville High School, MACJC Honorable Mention All-State; freshman midfielder Fredy Gutierrez of Pontotoc High School, MACJC All-State; and sophomore defender Durham Norman of Florence High School, Academic Award, Best Defensive Player Award, MACJC All-Star Team, and MACJC All-State. (EC Photo)
The sophomore members of the East Central Community College women’s soccer team received special recognition at the college’s Fall Sports Awards Banquet held recently on the Decatur campus. Sophomores who finished their ECCC careers during the fall 2015 season include (first row, from left) midfielder Gabby Stapp of West Harrison High School in Gulfport, defender Pashien Kelley-Johnson of West Harrison High School, forward Tamia Cavett of Murrah High School in Jackson, midfielder Megan Yarbrough of Center Hill High School in Olive Branch, and forward Lacey Field of Lewisburg High School in Olive Branch; (back row, from left) midfielder Kayla Anderson of Florence High School, midfielder Megan Parrish of Pascagoula High School, forward Carrissa Stevenson of Harrison Central High School in Gulfport, defender Brittany Rasco of Pascagoula High School, midfielder Allie Turner of Horn Lake High School, defender Erin Golden of Petal High School, and manager Katherine Moran of Pascagoula High School. (EC Photo)