Categorized | Sports

Rosemark Baseball Remembers 2012 Season, Celebrates Signings

The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebel Baseball family came together Saturday evening at the home of Keith and Jeanine Owen to the winningest era in the program’s history.

Head Coach Brad Smith was the master of ceremonies as awards were handed out to the JV team and varsity players. In the midst of the aroma of Rebel Dogs and grilled burgers, Smith also made sure the day was time to recognize the careers of nine players from the Class of 2012: JT Moody, Andrew Ralston, Ryan “The President” Bailey, Nick James, Ben Mallory, David Owen, Cale Alexander, Cody Migliore and Jordan Wilson.

Then the night concluded with the triple signing of Ralston, Migliore and Owen to Harding University, Southwest Tennessee and Arkansas State respectively.

Smith thanked the parents, supporters and friends of the program for a 32-14 campaign. The Rebels played the most games for a season in school history reaching the 2012 Division II-A State Tournament. Then Smith recognized his Assistant Coach Andrew Womack for his contributions the past five years in helping to turn the program around.

Under Smith’s guidance, the most recent TRA graduates reached three Sub-State and two State Tournaments finishing second in 2009.

“We accomplished a lot,” Migliore said. “People always put us down, but we stepped up.”

The festivities to celebrate “the underdog” Rebels began when the Owen family opened their doors to the Rebel Baseball players and family for dinner. Then Womack and Smith took center stage to hand out awards. Migliore was named Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. Then Jordan Wilson was recognized as the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year.

Pitcher of the Year went to the program’s all-time winningest arm, JT Moody. He picked up eight victories this year. Smith said his most memorable win came in 2009 when Moody won 4-3 in the State Semifinals giving TRA a spot in the title game.

Moody was matched for the team lead in wins this past season by Owen. The Best of the Preps finalist also batted .351 with 39 hits. Owen was the big-game pitcher for Smith beating Bartlett and Blackman. With his 1.75 ERA and 9 complete games, Owen was given the Rebel Award for 2012.

With such an accomplished class, Smith took nearly an hour to recognize all the awards his players won from across the state. Wilson was recognized for being the 2012 Star Baseball Player of the Year and being named to the All-State first team.

Owen, the Star Pitcher of the Year, was recognized for several statewide awards. With so many allcolades to list, Smith made sure to note the turning point of the season, which put his players on the path toward all that success.

Smith recalled a team meeting during the season trying to right the ship. He threw a question out to the quiet man of the team Ben Mallory. The senior was asked what does the team need to do?

He replied, ‘I think we’re playing for all the wrong reason. We’re playing for ourselves. We need to play for God.’

Smith said that statement made his refocus as a coach and rallied the Rebels toward having eight All-District players. Before Smith put the spotlight on his three signees, he named the Co-Captain Awards winners in Cale Alexander and Jordan Wilson.

Both will be playing baseball at Christian Brothers University next year. Moody, Star Basketball Player of the Year, will also be on the campus. But he’ll be on the basketball team.

When Ralston, Owen and Migliore signed, the made the total of Rebels moving to the next level to play on the diamond five.

“It means a lot to our program because we have such high quality players,” Ralston said. “Now some are moving on to play at the next level.”

Migliore said signing with his parents Cindy and Mike by his side was special. The Team USA player noted the trip down memory lane was overwhelming.

“It makes us proud,” he said. “But it also makes us humble. If you would have talked to me this time last year, there’s no way I would have thought we would have accomplished this. We showed up and showed out.”

Owen showed up for his second signing ceremony. Earlier this year he committed to Northwest Mississippi as a steal for the program. But after Owen kept impressing the Mid-South baseball experts, word got out quick to institutions like ASU.

The son of Keith and Jeanine Owen said he’s glad his signing to a Division I program is another indicator of the hard work going on at TRA.

“As Coach Smith would say, it puts Rosemark on the map,” he said. “For a school to have as many seniors as we did, I don’t think too many schools can say more than half of their seniors are going somewhere to play. That’s something to be proud of.”

Ralston, the son of Scott and Cindy, will also be heading across the bridge to The Natural State to play for the Bisons. The 2011 Star Baseball Player of the Year said his signing is not only a victory for his family.

“It means so much to a small school like this having such quality players,” he said. “It shows hard work pays off.”

The Rebel faithful paid tribute to the seniors and bid them farewell. There was one more goodbye to be said. Smith thanked his right-hand man Womack for his years of dedicated service to the team. Womack will move to the school’s administrative team.

Womack, Smith and the players have filled the trophy case at TRA with several awards and plaques marking the time on the diamond from 2009 to 2012.

“I hope it brings more people to Rosemark because we’ve actually got athletic teams,” Migliore said. “We can do a lot of different things and get things accomplished. I hope we’ve made everyone proud.

Owen said he hopes future students and Rebel Baseball players look at the era a special time.

“They will be able to walk in and see that was a great squad those four years,” he concluded. ” It all started with them.’ It feels good to put on a shirt that shows we’ve had so much success, setting records and getting recognition across the state.”

 

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