POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The first round of post-season honors are beginning to roll in for Pearl River's baseball team. The MACJC recently announced eight Wildcats have been named all-league following a round of voting by the coaches.
Right fielder Noah Barron (Hoover, Ala.), right-handers Miles Smith (Laurel; Northeast Jones) and Shemar Page (Raleigh), shortstop Wiley Cleland (Columbia; Columbia Academy) and second baseman Dexter Jordan (Hattiesburg) were named to the All-MACJC First Team. Left fielder Matt Taylor (Raleigh), third baseman Austen Izzio (Carriere; Pearl River Central) and closer Jerod Meggs (Kosciusko) earned spots on the All-MACJC Second Team.
FIRST TEAM SELECTIONS
Barron was a dangerous middle-of-the-order bat for PRCC for most of the season, hitting .311 with a .376 on-base percentage and .528 slugging percentage. The William Carey-bound right fielder hit 17 doubles with one triple, nine homers and 46 RBIs. He also scored 49 times and stole nine bases in 10 attempts.
Cleland made a seamless move to shortstop prior to the start of the season and flourished. As a reliable bat, Cleland hit .327 with a .428 OBP and .600 slugging percentage. The Louisiana-Monroe signee tied for third on the team in homers (11), second in RBIs (53) and led the Wildcats with 19 doubles. His 67 hits were second-best on the team, as were his 58 runs scored. He also stole five bases. Cleland earned the MACJC Player of the Week honor once this season.
Jordan blasted onto the collegiate scene as a freshman. Like Cleland, Jordan made a position change to second base once he arrived at PRCC. After a learning adjustment early on, Jordan settled in to his defensive role while simultaneously flourishing at the plate. Jordan ranked fourth nationally with 18 homers, while his 66 RBIs were good enough for ninth. Jordan also hit .284 with a .389 OBP and a team-best .649 slugging percentage. In addition to his homers, Jordan hit 15 doubles and scored 53 times. He also stole eight bases. Following the season, Jordan was a 16thround selection of the Houston Astros, marking the second straight season a Wildcat has been drafted directly from PRCC. Jordan was also a MACJC Player of the Week selection.
Page proved to be a true two-way threat for Pearl River. The Louisiana Tech signee boasted a 7-1 record on the year with a 2.77 ERA and 10.27 strikeouts-per-nine that were tops among PRCC's starters. In 78 innings, Page struck out 89 against just 28 walks. When the right-hander wasn't pitching, he was playing first base, where he hit .312 with a .624 slugging percentage and a team-high .506 OBP. In 109 at-bats, Page hit six homers, 12 doubles and two triples with 30 RBIs. He also scored 39 times. For his efforts this year, Page was named the MACJC Pitcher of the Week once and also landed the national honor.
Smith was a dominant force on the mound for the Wildcats this season, leading Pearl River in innings (88 1/3), complete games (3) and strikeouts (97). He also tied fellow starter Colin Danley (Lucedale; East Central) for the team lead in wins with nine, finishing with a 9-3 record. Smith's nine wins were good enough for 11thnationally, while his 97 strikeouts ranked 12th. The right-hander also had a sparkling 2.85 ERA and finished second among PRCC's starters with a 9.88 K/9. Perhaps Smith's most impressive statistic from 2019 was his home runs allowed — one. The South Alabama signee was also named the MACJC Pitcher of the Week once this season.
SECOND TEAM SELECTIONS
Izzio proved to be a table setter for the batting order while playing a reliable hot corner for the Wildcats as a freshman. The younger brother of assistant coach Anthony Izzio, Austen was second among PRCC's regulars with a .332 average while also boasting a .420 OBP and .573 slugging. Izzio led PRCC with 73 hits, four triples and 60 runs scored. He also tallied 10 homers, 15 doubles, 46 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
Meggs embodied the role of stopper for Pearl River as a sophomore. A true competitor on the mound, the South Alabama-bound right-hander led PRCC with 26 appearances, striking out 37 batters against 22 walks in 44 1/3 innings. He also compiled a paltry 2.03 ERA with a 2-3 record and two saves.
Like Izzio, Taylor was a perfect table setter for the batting order as a sophomore. The Southeastern Louisiana signee led the Wildcats with a .342 average, while also boasting a .450 OBP and .500 slugging percentage. Taylor finished the year with 10 doubles, two triples, six homers and 50 RBIs. He scored 56 times and led PRCC with 14 stolen bases.