By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
Pearl River County is the home to one of the top prep baseball players in the state.
With yet another baseball season set to begin on Friday, Poplarville's Zac Houston was honored Wednesday being selected to the prestigious Dandy Dozen squad, as picked annually by the Jackson Clarion Ledger.
The 6-fooot-6, 230-pound standout is a force both on the mound and at the plate for Poplarville. He has already signed a baseball scholarship to play in the Southeastern Conference next season with nationally-ranked Mississippi State.
Houston, a starter since he was a freshman, will see action as both a pitcher and at first base this season for head coach J.J. Fortune and the Hornets. He batted .405 with seven home runs, eight doubles and three triples last year and he drove in 30 runs as well.
On the hill, he went 5-4 with a miniscule 1.70 ERA. Relying on several pitches, including a 90-mile per hour fastball, He struck out 61 batters in 61 innings pitched.
“I’ve never coached a guy with that much power at the plate,” Fortune said.
Houston and the Hornets will host the annual Pearl River County Classic beginning Friday, welcoming Picayune and Pearl River Central as well as Hancock. It is a chance for local prep baseball fans to see all four local teams in action over a span of two days to kick off the season.
PRC and Hancock get things started at 5 p.m., Friday, followed by Picayune and Poplarville at about 7:30. Then on Saturday, the Maroon Tide and Hawks face off at 11 a.m., followed by the Blue Devils and Hornets about 1:30.
The Blue Devils will be led by returning standouts in pitcher/shortstop Dylan Spiers, third baseman Lane Fazende and pitcher Chance Putnam.
The Maroon Tide will count upon retuning standouts in pitcher Jacob Taylor, outfielder Nick Marble and infielder Mark Woods.
In addition to Houston, the Hornets will count on infielder J.J. Welch and pitcher Ashton Miley.