Mississippi State is getting the “complete package” when Lewisburg senior Bryce Brock appears on the Starkville campus in the fall.
Not only is Brock a talented athlete, having starred in both football and baseball for the Patriots, but athletic director Rusty Cagle said he will bring leadership and character to the Bulldogs’ baseball program.
Along with that, the combination of academics and athletics has earned Brock honors as one of the state’s Lindy Callahan Award winners.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association annually awards 16 student athletes, a boy and a girl from eight geographical districts of the state, a $1,500 scholarship to recognize their excellence in sports and in the classroom.
The award is named for retired athletic director Lindy Callahan. He is a Mississippi Sports Hall-of-Famer who has also been included in other halls of fame and has received numerous honors and awards.
Callahan was a standout high school and collegiate athlete at Ole Miss who briefly played professional baseball before he became a coach and later the athletic director at Gulfport High School for 37 years.
“These kids are the best of the best,” Cagle said about the Lindy Callahan Award winners. “It all puts it in perspective for Bryce how good and how well he has done in high school on and off the field.”
“A lot of those kids are extremely brilliant kids,” added Brock. “I was a little surprised by it all. I try not to think too highly of myself because that’s how I was raised.”
On the competitive side, Brock has been a four-year letterwinner in baseball, three years in football and two years in basketball. He was football captain and all region quarterback this year, an all-stater in baseball and region baseball Player of the Year last year.
As a sophomore, Brock was an all-division pick and captain on the basketball team.
In the classroom, Brock has a 4.24 weighted grade point average, an ACT score of 24 and is ranked 36th in a Lewisburg senior class of 240.
On the baseball field, Brock plays center field and pitches for the Patriots, a team that enters this weekend as district champions. Lewisburg starts the MHSAA 5A playoffs’ second round best-of-three series Friday night at home against Saltillo.
The multi-talented Brock gets it done in the field, on the mound and at the plate.
“He can go get it and he’s got a good arm,” Cagle said. “He can throw it by you, he can fool you. Bryce is good enough to adjust when a batter adjusts.”
Brock said the team feels they have some unfinished business this spring. Their year ended in a three-game loss to Oxford in the second round of 5A playoffs one year ago.
“Up to this point, I’ve thought that we’ve had a good year,” Brock said. “I’m not the most vocal guy, but I’ve taken it on myself to be more of that as a leader this year.”
“Bryce has a knack of saying the right thing at the right time,” Cagle added. “Or he’ll tell me, ‘go away coach, I’ve got this.’ It’s not in his nature, but it’s something I’ve been begging for.”
Brock could be headed to become another in a growing line of talented DeSoto County-grown baseball players who move into pro ball.
It’s a list that includes ex-DeSoto Central star Austin Riley, who Brock lived next to and is a rising star in the Atlanta Braves’ organization.
He could even become the next Rudy Martin, another Lewisburg product drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 2014.
“I think, in general, we have a lot of good baseball around here,” Brock said. “Talent like that is all over the county. We’ve got some real good high school programs in the county.”
Top of mind right now, however, is helping Lewisburg move forward past Saltillo this weekend and further along in the 5A state baseball playoffs.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.