SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College sophomore pitchers Jaxen Forrester and Wesley Grantham along with freshmen Tyler Miller and Austin Beech have earned 2019 MACJC All-State baseball honors, as chosen by the head baseball coaches of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges. Miller and Forrester were selected to the 24-player first team, while Grantham and Beech made the second team.
Miller, a 23rd-round selection of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft, led this year's EMCC team in virtually every offensive category, including batting average (.336), home runs (7) and runs batted in (36). The left-handed hitting shortstop also had nine doubles and five triples to account for his team-high 21 extra-base hits, 91 total bases and .599 slugging percentage. Miller, who was tabbed the MACJC Player of the Week during Week 10, rated as the only Lions player to start all of EMCC's 41 games this past season.
Having recently committed to continue his athletic and academic career at Auburn University, Miller was a two-time Class 6A All-State standout at Spanish Fort (Ala.) High School. As a prep senior for the Toros, he was selected to the 2018 Alabama Sports Writers Association's All-State First Team and named Class 6A Hitter of the Year after batting .403 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs.
On the mound for Coach Brett Kimbrel's EMCC Lions, Forrester was 4-4 with one save and a 3.74 ERA this past year for East Mississippi, including a 3-3 record and 2.95 ERA in conference action. With 76 strikeouts and 32 walks in 53 total innings pitched, the right-hander ranked 16th nationally among NJCAA Division II hurlers by averaging 12.91 strikeouts per nine innings pitched on the season. In addition, opposing batters hit just .191 against Forrester during the 2019 season.
Also a product of Spanish Fort (Ala.) High School, Forrester was a three-time MACJC Pitcher of the Week recipient during his two-year EMCC career. This past season, he earned the accolade during Week 8 for throwing a no-hitter with nine strikeouts versus East Central on March 29 and then was picked again for conference honors during Week 13 after limiting Jones College to just two singles with eight strikeouts during a 12-2 run-rule victory on May 3.
Grantham, a left-hander out of Central Hinds Academy, posted a team-best 5-3 pitching record with a 3.48 earned run average this past season, including a 4-2 mark and 2.48 ERA in MACJC conference games. Along with totaling 57 strikeouts and 25 walks in 51.2 innings pitched on the year, he threw three complete games highlighted by his five-hit 8-0 shutout over Mississippi Delta in which he fanned seven and walked only one.
Both Forrester and Grantham have announced their commitments to continue their athletic and academic careers at Mississippi State University.
Beech, a Pascagoula product, was EMCC's second-leading hitter this past season with a .331 batting average as a 38-game starter in the outfield. Along with leading the Lions with his .447 on-base percentage, the left-handed hitter tied for the club lead with 29 runs scored on the year while smacking eight doubles and driving home 26 runs.