Jackets reflect on 2017 baseball season after loss

By: 
CHRISTIAN SPEENEY
For Starkville Daily News

It wasn't easy for the Starkville Yellowjackets to see the 2017 baseball season end the way it did on Friday night.
Still, Starkville baseball coach Travis Garner was able to reflect fondly on his team’s seniors and their contributions following the Class 6A second round exit from the playoffs.
The Jackets ended their season with an overall record of 16-15 following their 14-0 loss to DeSoto Central.
Starkville saw a huge improvement following a 5-11 start, which was a turnaround Garner credits largely to the team’s seniors.
“These seniors helped change the culture of the program,” Garner said, “My first year here was their freshmen year, and they hadn’t been to the 6A playoffs in a few years – let alone win a series. Now here we are, three years in a row in the playoffs, (and) two years in the last 16 (teams left in playoffs). The program has taken huge steps, and they’ve left behind a good legacy.”
One of the toughest challenges facing Garner’s squad this season was the loss of seven key players from last year.
“We lost a lot,” Garner said, “We were gutted last year. We lost a lot of guys who played, and we had a bumpy stretch to start the year. We started the year 5-11, and we finished the year really, really well. It shows what this bunch can do. I’m sure at the start of the season a lot of people wrote us off, so to be sitting here, finishing the year hot with a winning record in the second round of the playoffs says a lot about the character of this bunch.”
The Jackets graduate five seniors this year, Brady Hunt, CJ Kemp, Blake Miller, Connor Reinike, and Tyler Stovall. Reinike and Stovall ended their careers with the only SHS hits for the night in the final inning.

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