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Oxford’s Baughman, quartet earn state All-USA honors

The postseason accolades continued to roll in for Oxford baseball coach Chris Baughman and his four Ole Miss signees Thursday.

USA Today named Baughman the Coach of the Year for Mississippi’s All-USA team while catcher Thomas Dillard was selected as Player of the Year. Jason Barber was also named to the first team while Houston Roth and Grae Kessinger were second-team selections after helping the Chargers claim their second straight MHSAA Class 5A championship in May.

Oxford (28-8) finished the season ranked No. 2 in the USA Today Super 25 rankings.

Baughman, who led Oxford to its first repeat in program history, was also recently selected as the Mississippi Association of Coaches Baseball Coach of the Year. Dillard, the EAGLE Player of the Year, hit .438 in his lone season at Oxford, leading the Chargers with 49 RBIs and leading the nation in home runs with 16.

Barber, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year for the second straight season, and Roth again formed arguably the state’s most formidable 1-2 punch on the mound, combining to go 20-2 with 15 complete games. Barber posted a 1.08 ERA with a team-high 126 strikeouts in 78 innings while Roth turned in a minuscule 0.44 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 63 innings. Barber also hit .330 with five home runs and 37 RBIs.

Kessinger, a 26th-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres, hit .310 out of the leadoff spot and had a fielding percentage of .971 as the Chargers’ everyday shortstop.