PRCC’s Avalon named NJCAA Coach of the Year
From Pearl River Community College Communications
POPLARVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) — Pearl River Community College baseball coach Michael Avalon was named Wednesday the American Baseball Coaches Association/ATEC’s National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Coach of the Year.
The honor comes one day after Avalon was named the organization’s Regional Coach of the Year for the NJCAA Division II’s Gulf Region.
“What an incredible year this has been for our program,” Avalon said. “I am thankful for all the players and coaches, past and present, who believed in our vision for this program and the goal of a national championship.
“Being named coach of the year to me means, very simply, that I was surrounded by incredible people, players, coaches and family. Thank you to all involved for the support and belief.”
Recipients will be honored at the 2023 ABCA Convention in Nashville on Jan. 6.
The honor is just the latest in a postseason that was filled of them for Avalon and his Wildcats.
Most recently, center fielder and University of Southern Mississippi commitment Tate Parker was named the ABCA/Rawlings NJCAA D-II Player of the Year on Monday and the NJCAA followed suit Tuesday morning, naming Parker the D-II Player of the Year.
“Michael Avalon has established Pearl River Community College baseball as the premier junior college program in the country,” PRCC Athletics Director Scotty Fletcher said. “Coach Avalon is a very dedicated, selfless and tireless worker who sacrifices daily for those around him.
“He is a players’ coach, who maximizes the ability and potential from every person associated within the program. His teams play with supreme discipline and have a subtle edge about themselves when they take the field and are always fun to watch.”
Earlier in June, Parker was named an NJCAA All-American — the first two-time honoree in program history — along with Alex Perry.
Perry, Parker and Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) were also All-Region 23 selections.
Prior to The River’s march through the NJCAA College World Series field, eight Wildcats were recognized by the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges’ Conference: Parker; Perry; Broadus; Ian Montz; D.K. Donaldson; Turner Swistak (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove); Cole Tolbert (Laurel; West Jones) and Leif Moore.
In addition to Avalon being named MACCC Coach of the Year, Parker and Broadus were first-team selections, Perry, Donaldson, Montz and Swistak landed on the second team and Tolbert and Moore earned honorable mention nods.
The Wildcats finished the year 45-11 overall after claiming the MACCC Championship — for a second consecutive year — and the Region 23 Tournament title.
Pearl River capped the season with a 5-1 record in Enid, Okla. Despite falling in Game 1 of the Championship Series, PRCC rallied to out-score Madison 26-3 in the next two games to claim the 2022 NJCAA Division II National Championship in decisive fashion.
With the 7-2 win in the deciding game, PRCC became just the second Mississippi program to win the NJCAA baseball national championship. The title victory also marked Avalon’s 200th win for the Maroon and Gold.
In addition to the head coach, Avalon said his assistants — Slater Lott, Brandon Pennington and Kyle Tynes — deserve their fair share of the credit for helping the Wildcats maneuver through their memorable 2022 schedule.
“When you’re around someone like Michael Avalon he makes you better as a player and person,” Parker said. “You couldn’t ask for a better leader and coach.”
The Wildcats once again got it done in 2022.
In 56 games, PRCC hit .336, had a .449 on-base percentage, hit .85 homers and stole 78 bases.
On the mound, PRCC’s staff combined for a 4.73 ERA with 442 strikeouts against 199 walks in 409 innings.
PRCC’s ranked sixth in the NJCAA in home runs, 12th in batting average and OBP, ninth in slugging percentage (.551) and hits (583), eighth in runs scored (519) and 24th in pitchers strikeouts.
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