The Holmes Community College baseball team is officially known as the Bulldogs, but as a team known to give it all on the diamond, they affectionately call themselves the “Dirtbags.” 

The latest addition to the Dirtbags will be Center Hill senior pitcher-infielder Austin Pace, who Tuesday signed a scholarship offer to play for longtime coach Kenny Dupont, who has been there as head coach since 2000 and with the program since 1996.

Pace’s coach Neil Frederic said he will fit the style of play Dupont expects from his teams.

“I think it’s a good fit for him,” Frederic said. “I know what they do and how they play. They have a nickname of the ‘Dirtbags’ and that’s just how they play. Austin is always willing to get dirty out there. He wants to direct traffic out there on the field and he’s gotten so much better doing that, policing those guys because he knows what I believe in and what our program is about.”

Pace has become the main pitching force for the Mustangs this spring, garnering a 6-1 record in eight appearances with a complete-game performance. His earned run average is challenging a school record, an ERA that was listed at 0.72 for the year. Pace has struck out 38 batters and walked just eight, while allowing only five earned runs this spring.

“He pitches and plays middle infield for us,” Frederic said about Pace. “He’s played shortstop and has played at second. He’s also played at third base and he has become our top arm this year. He will get a chance to get some innings on the mound there and he will get a chance to play some infield there as well.”

Dupont hopes Pace can help bolster a program that this spring is 12-24 through 36 games and is 3-15 in MACJC division games, prior to a Wednesday home doubleheader with Northeast Mississippi Community College.

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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