HATTIESBURG, MS - Southern Miss head baseball coach Scott Berry announced today the addition of five local players for the 2012 season. Today was the first day of the early signing period and the Golden Eagles anticipate signing as many as seven additional baseball players in the coming days.
"I am very excited to add five local players to the 2012 team," head coach Scott Berry said. "This area has always been loaded with talent thanks in part to the outstanding coaches in this area who continue to teach the game of baseball and provide their player with an opportunity to advance to the next level. We are hoping that this class will continue the success and tradition of the previous signing classes with roots in the greater Hattiesburg area."
Joining the Eagles are two local standouts from Sumrall high school that were members of the National Championship Bobcat team from 2010, two of the top major league prospects in the state and a junior college All-American from Jones County JC.
Mason Robbins is a rising senior left-handed pitcher and outfielder from George County High School, who has been a starter at GCHS since the eighth grade and has earned numerous All-State and All-American accolades for coach Tony Neil.
The 6-foot, 200 pound left-hander was one of the top pitchers in the state as a junior last season, going 5-2 with a 0.93 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 45 innings while scattering only six runs all year. He also hit .453 with two home runs and 30 RBI.
He participated in the Under Armour All-American game at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, this summer. The game, featuring 34 of the top prep players in the country for 2011, was broadcast live on the MLB Network and MLB.com in August. In the game, Mason had two hits, two runs scores and stole two bases while finishing second in the home run derby.
Ryan Ellis is a rising senior who could play first base or outfield at Southern Miss. He prepped at Columbia High for coach Greg Owen where he was a All-State selection as a junior. The five-foot-11, 215 pound Ellis hit .448 with eight home runs, 18 doubles, 41 runs scored and 47 RBI as a junior for the Wildcats while striking out only nine times and drawing 25 walks. For his efforts he was named all-district and team MVP in addition to All-State for Class 4A.
Considered one of the top hitters in the state for 2011, he hit .414 with eight doubles, two home runs and 22 RBI as a sophomore . In his freshman campaign he slugged nine doubles, a triple, four home runs and 36 RBI while hitting .419.
The Golden Eagles did not have to go but a few miles down the road to pick up two players off the 2010 high school national championship Sumrall Bobcats team in infielder Connor Barron and left-handed pitcher Luke Lowery.
Barron is a six-foot, 180 pound all-state middle infielder who hit .514 with six home runs and 60 RBI as a junior last season. He helped guide his team to a 35-1 record and their third consecutive state championship.
Lowery was 11-1 on the bump last season with a 1.13 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched. The All-American allowed only 10 earned runs and held opponents to a .163 batting average while firing six complete games.
Lowery and Barron join current Golden Eagle freshman pitcher Jackson Posey as members of the Sumrall team that set the Mississippi record for winning 57 consecutive games and three state championship from 2008-10. They were also named the number one team in the nation by ESPN, Maxpreps and USA Today in each of their final polls for the 2010 season.
Lowery, Barron and Ellis each participated in the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars held at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, North Carolina this past summer, which is made up of 128 of the nation's best ballplayers that were born in 1992 or 1993.
Southern Miss added one junior College player from nearby Jones County Junior College in Andrew Pierce, who is also a Stinger native. Last season with the Wildcats Pierce earned All-American, All-State and All-Region honors as a right-handed pitcher.
The six-foot-two, 165 pound pitcher was 10-2 with a 1.94 ERA and four saves for coach Christian Ostrander in his freshman campaign while recording 106 strikeouts and holding opponents to a .199 batting average against and throwing five complete games.
Golden Eagle head coach Scott Berry anticipates signing as many as seven more players in the early signing period that should be announced in the coming days.