SOSO, MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - "I just remember [Trey Sutton] having so many big hits for us," said USM head coach Scott Berry. "The guy that you wanted up when it was time. When you needed it delivered, he was that guy."
Sutton delivered plenty of hits in his four years at Southern Miss from 2005-08 – a school-record 327 to be exact. From Soso to Hattiesburg, Sutton is well-known in the baseball community not only for his time as a Golden Eagle but for helping to lead West Jones to the South State finals in 2004.
Now, Sutton's accomplished the same feat in his second season as the head coach of his alma mater.
"I love the game of baseball," Sutton said. "It always was something even when I wasn't around the game, it always was something that I felt I had the itch to kind of get back around at some point."
Sutton batted .446 for his high school career at West Jones before going on to play for the Golden Eagles. USM made the NCAA regional in all four seasons Sutton played.
There's one thing that has not changed about Sutton from his playing days at Southern Miss to his coaching days at West Jones. It's his chagrin toward losing. Fortunately, the Mustangs haven't had to face that too often - they're 27-3 on the year.
"Relentless, relentless competitor," said Ray Pickering, a Hattiesburg assistant coach who played with Sutton at West Jones. Iff he was playing a pick-up game, definitely would want him to be chosen first."
"Hated to lose," Berry said " I mean I can only imagine, it's a good thing they've won a bunch at West Jones this year and not lost because he is a bad loser. He doesn't like to lose."
"I'm a sore loser and always have been," Sutton said. "Winning is so much fun but just the thought of losing makes my stomach turn."
Sutton's animosity toward losing has been managed through hard work. Whether it's extra reps at practice, or yoga after practice, Sutton has changed the culture of Mustangs baseball. It's brought them four wins away from a state title.
"He brought discipline, hard work, accountability around the locker room," said West Jones junior Kris Riley. " We got a job and stuff. Just to work hard."
"In baseball, as well as in life, you got to put in the work to be successful at anything you're going to do," Sutton said. " From day one, we've come in and just tried to establish a culture of hard work and dedication and team work and that it takes more than just the individual to accomplish a goal."
West Jones' goal of winning a state championship continues in the class 5A South State finals as the Mustangs take on Hattiesburg. Game one is Thursday at West Jones.