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franklin county times

Four county baseball players sign with MCC

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
July 9, 2003
Five Mississippi athletes, two golfers and three baseball players, formally joined the Meridian Community College athletic nest Tuesday afternoon in the Fitness Center.
Clay Jarrell of Tupelo and Daniel Hailey of Louisville signed on the dotted line to become members of the Eagles golf team, and West Lauderdale first baseman Richie McAlister, Northeast Lauderdale pitcher/designated hitter Drew Anderson and Meridian High School shortstop Richmond Alexander were officially announced as members of the Eagles baseball team.
"This is definitely near the top," Alexander said of ranking the day in his baseball career. "When you're a little kid you always think about signing with such a good program like (MCC's). It is kind of like a dream come true."
The newest athletes to join the MCC family were introduced by their new coaches Lou Hart, head golf coach, and Michael Federico, head baseball coach.
Hart eloquently read prepared statements to introduce her latest signees to the golf squad, while Federico kept his introduction of three of the four new diamond Eagles shorts and sweet. Pitcher Jamie Fontan of West Lauderdale has also signed to play for MCC, but was out of town on Tuesday.
Though the two coaches' introductions for the athletes may have been different, both were all smiles about bringing in new talent to their teams.
"They are all tremendous people, and they come from great families," Federico said. "We filled in some holes that we needed to fill."
"I've worked with both (Jarrell and Hailey) off and on," Hart said. "They are so good; they could go any where they want. Meridian is lucky to get them. It is a real coup for us."
Jarrell and Hailey join an Eagles' golf team that finished sixth at the NJCAA Division II National Golf Tournament at the Palm Valley Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz., last season.
Jarrell finished his high school career with the Tupelo Goldenwaves as a member of 14 tournament championship teams, medaling in several of the tournaments.
The young linkster said signing with MCC is the best thing to happen to him in his golf career, so far.
"It is one of the achievements that through hard work has paid off," Jarrell said. "I feel like I will be competitive, I hope I can help win a national title."
Hailey also brings impressive credentials to the Eagles.
He helped the Louisville Wildcats capture numerous tournaments in his senior year, earning medalist honors seven times.
"This is a great step in the right direction," Hailey said of joining the golf squad. "I'm going to try to help the team the best I can."
McAlister, Anderson, Alexander and Fontan join a baseball team that finished fifth in the 10-team Junior College World Series at Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colo.
The quartet of new Eagles will help fill some holes in the team's line up and add depth.
"Each one brings something totally different," Federico said. "You have two pitchers (Anderson and Fontan) and two position players (McAlister and Alexander). Richmond Alexander can play all three positions in the infield. Richie McAlister is a big strong kid that can vie for the DH (designated hitter) job, as well as first base. Fontan is the type of guy that can pitch for us immediately out of the bullpen. Drew Anderson is a tremendous athlete, and he can help us out on the mound."
The players will have the comfort level of playing at home.
Staying in the Queen City is something the three players said should help them adjust to the junior college level of play.
"It should help a lot," Anderson said of staying in Meridian. "We will have our parents around and a good support system."
The players will also be working to keep up the winning tradition of the Eagles program.
MCC has appeared in seven World Series since 1993, and the team has its sites set again on a trip to Colorado in 2004.
"I'm excited to sign," McAlister said. "I just want to work hard and help keep Meridian as one of the best baseball teams in the country."