Kemper County Messenger

Postseason honors have begun to roll in for the Kemper Academy baseball team, which captured the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools’ District 2-A championship before bowing out of the playoffs in the state quarterfinals.

The Rams, who finished 16-6 overall, won three of the top individual district honors and also have had two players named to the MAIS All-Star Baseball Games.

Seniors Dalton Sanderford, Trent Lightner and Josh Mitchell picked up district awards, with Sanderford and Lightner both named to this week’s all-star game.

The contest for Class A and AA schools will begin at 12:30 p.m., Friday at Smith-Wills Stadium on Lakeland Drive in Jackson. Admission is $10.

“We’re very excited for both of our guys and glad they’ll be representing Kemper Academy,” first-year KA head coach Tony Cawthorn said. “Dalton was probably our hottest hitter at the beginning of the season and Trent was probably our hottest hitter at the end. And we could play either of those guys anywhere.”

Sanderford, who was also named the District 2-A Most Valuable Player, had a torrid start to the season and finished with a .441 batting average.

Seventeen of his 30 hits went for extra bases, and his 16 doubles were easily the most on the team. He finished with a team-high 39 runs scored while driving in 26 runs.

And, Sanderford and Lightner tied for the team lead with 18 stolen bases.

Lightner wound up leading the team with a .493 batting average, and his 36 hits and 34 RBIs were also tops on the team. He had eight doubles and a homer and also scored 34 times, winning MAIS 2-A Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Mitchell was chosen as the MAIS 2-A Defensive Player of the Year.

The senior left-hander threw in six games and finished with a 2-2 pitching record. He struck out 30 in 16.1 innings.

Sanderford’s appearance caps a year in which he played in the MAIS all-star football, basketball and baseball games – while Lightner also played in the all-star football contest.