Will the Summer Season for baseball continue into spring?

From Issue 2


Christopher Maddux (11) and John Woods Hollowell (11) preparing for a game. Photo courtesy of: John Woods Hollowell

Jackson Prep baseball has a reputation of excellence and the program is known for its championship culture. In order to achieve and continue this excellence, the players have to work diligently year round and strive to continually get better. This year Jackson Prep’s baseball team never lost its step after winning the state championship. The 2021-2022 Prep baseball team is arguably one of the best baseball teams in the history of the school. However, many players in the past and present have contributed to making Prep baseball what it is today.

The seniors who contributed to such a great championship year were Trey Bridges, Eli Berch, Will Gibbs, Cy Craig, and Owen Abney.  These guys will be missed, and some are going on to play college baseball. Cy Craig enrolled this past summer at Northwest Mississippi Community College. Cy finished with the highest batting average on the Jackson Prep team last year, in spite of missing several games due to a hand injury. His final batting average was .526 and he was a major part of winning the state championship. This summer Cy Craig played in the Southeast Collegiate League and hit with former MLB manager and player, Chris Maloney. Another great hitter for Prep last year was Eli Berch. Eli enrolled in Chipola Community College this summer, which is in Florida. Eli has been working day in and day out determined to be the best hitter and catcher he can be. Eli and his brother Thaxton, Louisiana Tech player, and former Jackson Prep player, have turned many heads this past year, and they are sure to do damage in the upcoming year. Will Gibbs, one of the most dominant pitchers Jackson Prep has ever seen, is sure to make an impact in college baseball this year. Gibbs was the ace pitcher last year for the Jackson Prep team, and he broke the strikeout record for a single season. Will is attending Mississippi State this year, and it will be fun to watch what he accomplishes in the upcoming season. Trey Bridges, another senior in the class of 2022,  was an asset in left field and batted .390 for the season at Prep.  Trey has been working hard this summer to prepare for baseball at The University of Louisiana Monroe. He has been working out at 5 Star Fitness with Ricky Clark, a former Jackson Prep trainer. In addition, Bridges regularly hit with the ULM coach until he was able to get on campus for college. 

In addition to these graduates, there are players coming back who are sure to make a difference for Prep.  Duncan Matthews, a senior, started last year at second base for the Prep baseball team. Matthews is one of the leaders of the team and he pushes all of his teammates to give their all. Duncan committed to South Alabama after a great season, batting .412 for Prep and being one of the best fielders on the team.  Duncan had an amazing summer as well, batting .430 with 1 home run and 15 doubles, and managed to throw out 12 guys. Another senior leader, Rives Reynolds, batted .393 during the Prep season and was a big part of the team’s championship run. Rives had a ridiculous summer season, competing in some of the top tournaments, and facing some of the best pitchers in the country. Reynolds batted .404 with 2 home runs and a .502 on base percentage. Matthew Cochran, a senior who started at third base last year, was dominant during the playoffs. Matthew batted .388 during the Prep season, and continued his dominant play into the summer batting .333 and earning a 1.80 E.R.A. Senior, Owen Ishee, played for the East Coast Sox over the summer, and managed to juggle both football and baseball workouts. Graham Busbea, a senior, had a very good season for Prep last year, batting .386 with an E.R.A. of 1.62, and starting game 3 of the Championship series. His domination transferred into the summer league where he had an E.R.A. of 1.3 and a batting average of .500.  Busbea and Ford Mcdaniel both recently committed to Hinds Community College. They will both have prominent roles during the season this year. William Seymour also played for East Coast Sox this summer and competed all summer. Junior, Konnor Griffin, who reclassified from 2025 to 2024, started last year at shortstop and pitcher. His batting average was a whopping .472. Konnor Griffin was the day 2 pitcher for Jackson Prep and finished with a E.R.A. of 1.64, which is the fourth best E.R.A. on the team. Over the summer Griffin traveled across the country playing in some of the most competitive and selective tournaments, and facing some of the country’s best pitchers and hitters. Griffin played in East Coast Pro where over 400 MLB scouts attended. Griffin has transferred well into the class of 2024 and says, “ I can’t wait for the Prep baseball season.”  John Woods Hollowell, a junior, played for East Coast Sox this summer. John Woods had an E.R.A. of 1.6 during the summer. John Woods fastball velocity increased over five miles an hour. Freshman Kevin Roberts, who is new to Jackson Prep, is expected to make an impact on the team.Roberts transferred from West Lauderdale and is one of the best players in the class of 2026. Roberts topped out on the mound at 91 mph at only 13 years old, and already has multiple d1 offers in basketball and baseball. 

In addition to the current Prep players and most recent graduates, two former Prep players (Class of 2021), Mason Nichols and Riley Maddux, played during Ole Miss’s championship season run. Mason Nichols pitched in the College World Series multiple times, and he was a crucial part of the national championship team. Riley Maddux was on pace to make a big impact, but he was plagued with a bad elbow injury mid-way through the year. Mason Nichols continued his work this summer in Cary, North Carolina following the College World Series. Mason played in Cary for a week then traveled home to rest his arm after a long year, then slowly began to work to get his arm back into shape. Riley has continued to rehab his arm after he had Tommy John surgery for a tear in his ucl. Riley will be out the whole 2023 baseball season, and will be working to rehab his arm in order to strengthen it so he can return. One former Jackson Prep baseball alum, Reed Kellum, committed and signed to play at Tulane University during this past summer after playing two years at Hinds Community College. Reed, who graduated in 2020, had his senior season canceled due to Covid.

Prep has several players that are playing baseball in the pros. Some of these players include: Will Warren, Jake Mangum and Parker Caracci. Parker Caracci, who was a prominent pitcher for Ole Miss, is currently on the Triple-A Affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Buffalo Bisons. Caracci has gradually moved through the minor league ranks.  He has a career minor league E.R.A. of 3.12 and appears to be on course to  make it to the majors in the upcoming years. Jake Mangum, who is a familiar name to many, holds the record for the most hits in a SEC career and was the leader of State’s team. Jake was drafted in 2019 and has already reached the triple-A affiliate of the Mets, the Syracuse Mets. Jake has a batting average of .304 this year and it seems like he will be called up to the majors pretty soon. Former Prep player, Will Warren, has burst onto the professional stage. Will played at SouthEastern Louisiana, and was a huge asset as a pitcher. Warren was drafted by the New York Yankees, and has already been called up to Double-A for the Yankees, topping out at 98 on the mound. So far this season, Warren has an E.R.A. of 3.91 and seems on track to pitch in the majors by the end of the next baseball season.

It will be fun to watch the current and former players in a variety of baseball venues!