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Oxford has four baseball, two softball players sign with area JUCO schools

Wednesday was the first day high school baseball and softball players could sign with junior and community colleges.

Oxford was not left out of the festivities. The Chargers had seven athletes (four baseball, two softball) commit to play at the next level at Northwest Mississippi and Itawamba Community Colleges.

Jacob Melendez, Tyler Smith, Parker Stinnett and Clark Stovall all committed to continue their baseball careers.

Melendez and Smith will play at Itawamba Community College while Stinnett and Stovall will continue to be teammates at Northwest Mississippi Community College.

After moving to Oxford when his dad — Ole Miss softball head coach Mike Smith — took the job three years ago, Smith has made an impact on the Chargers’ roster. In nine appearances on the mound last season he accumulated a 0.67 earned run average. At the plate Smith had a batting average of .200 with with two runs batted in off two in 10 at-bats.

Smith was deciding between ICC and Meridian Community College. The Indians approached Smith two weeks before he announced his commitment to them on Sept. 14.

“(Itawamba’s) been successful recently and I really love (Itawamba head) coach (Rick) Collier and everything he has to offer,” Smith said. “It felt like a good place to be. …my dad can come watch me play whenever.”

Stinnett and Stovall will head up I-55 and continue their careers in Senatobia by joining another successful baseball program in the Rangers.

Stovall transferred to Oxford and played his first season with the Chargers last Spring. In his first season at Oxford, Stovall hit .371 and had 36 RBIs off 39 hits and had one home run.

Stinnett proved to be an ace of the Chargers’ pitching staff with an ERA of 0.99, giving up 41 hits and striking out 64 batters, tying his brother Carson for a team-high.

“In terms of who had the best stuff, we felt like Parker had probably more ability than anybody we’ve since the two we have out at Ole Miss to get a big strikeout when we needed to,” Oxford head coach Chris Baughman said. “He and Carson are a lot alike. Where Parker came not only as a pitcher but also at third base for us. This year he’s really going to be one of the more versatile players we have.”

Crosby, Beard sign

The softball team saw two of their seniors decide their fate post high school. Madison Crosby and Brittni Beard inked with Northwest Mississippi Community College’s softball team.

Crosby has been a pivotal player in the Chargers’ infield.

“Crosby was clutch,” Oxford head coach Tabitha Beard said. “She pitched four total games for us, but when she came in she was electric. Her stepping up and playing second (base) for us was huge. She brought an element in and some range in that made Brittni and the other pitcher’s job so much easier.”

Wednesday was a proud moment for two reasons for coach Beard. Not only was she proud of one of her players getting the opportunity to play at the next level, she was also proud on a personal level.

Brittni is Beard’s daughter and the dynamic is one that is different than mosts but has worked for the two, giving Brittni the opportunity to succeed.

“(Brittni) is such a hard worker and I know the hours that have been put in,” coach Beard said. “To get to this point it’s huge. And as a mom you love the opportunity for her to be able to keep doing what she loves as long as she can. Especially in this sport.”