Mooreville’s centerfield fence is lined with numbers – 76, 78, 87, 92, 94, 01, 02, 05 – representing the years the Troopers won state championships in baseball.
It’s a proud legacy, one built by former coach Rex Berryman and all those players who proudly wore the dark green and white.
You see, Mooreville is baseball. Baseball is Mooreville.
The tradition of winning state championships continued this week in Pearl, where this latest edition of Troopers won the school’s ninth gold glove with a two-game series sweep of Pine Belt power Seminary.
Troopers coach Derek Thompson, a former assistant under Berryman, stood on the field Thursday night at Trustmark Park reflecting on the present and the past of Mooreville’s successful program.
“What Rex Berryman did for this program … we’re proud and fortunate to help carry on that tradition,” he said, then exclaimed, “What about these Super Troopers!”
Mooreville (28-9) powered and finessed its way to the state championship under Thompson’s direction. The Troopers swept through Amanda Elzy, South Pontotoc, Nettleton, then needed three games to beat 3A kingpin Kossuth to qualify for the trip to Pearl.
“The hardest thing about winning a 3A state championship is getting out of the north,” Thompson said. “We ran through some guys who can absolutely play baseball.”
Thompson’s players, still caught up in the euphoria of winning state, took some time to reflect on their accomplishment.
“This feels amazing. This is what we’ve dreamed of since day one. We’ve worked our butts off for it,” said senior pitcher/outfielder Trace Henry.
“We’ve worked hard for this since August,” said junior outfielder Andy “Hammer” Franks. “We pieced it all together at the end. People will now know about the ’17 team.”
Franks, the team’s top hitter, amazingly pitched two innings of one-hit relief in Thursday’s 6-5 victory. He underwent shoulder surgery last summer and had worked only 6 1/3 innings on the hill this season.
“I had a lot of adrenaline running. My arm felt good,” he said.
Henry, Franks and their teammates are fully aware of what they had accomplished for themselves and the Mooreville baseball program.
“They know about the tradition at Mooreville,” Thompson said. “They know what Mooreville baseball is all about. When teams play Mooreville, they’re playing the tradition these kids had nothing to do with.
“Well, they do now. They put their number up.” … On that centerfield wall.