Berry of Columbus commits to MSU baseball

Staff Writer

Columbus native Blayze Berry has dreamed his whole life of wearing the M over S hat and playing baseball for Mississippi State.

He’s proud to say he’s accomplished that dream.

The Heritage Academy junior right-handed pitcher threw for head coach Chris Lemonis and his staff this month at a prospect camp and the coaches liked what they saw. Just a few throws from Berry gave the Bulldogs all they wanted to see and they invited him back to campus for a visit.

It was there that he got a chance to talk to Lemonis and earn an offer.

“It was a long conversation," Berry said. "I had come out well at the camp and pounded the zone and he told me that they really liked me as a pitcher. He gave me an offer and that sold me. I committed right there.”

The decision to choose MSU was one of the easiest Berry has ever made. He had some early interest from Southeastern Louisiana and Tulane as well as several junior colleges around the state, but the Bulldogs were always the goal.

“I’ve always been a State fan so it’s always been a dream school,” Berry said. “It was an easy process. I knew that if I got offered I would commit. A lot was going through my head in the room when I got offered, but I was ready to get out there and keep grinding. It was exciting.”

Berry pitches for the East Coast Sox when he’s not playing for Heritage and has had success over the last several years with that organization. The 5’10, 175-pound pitcher also doubles as a short stop and has shown the ability to play defense and hit to go along with his arm.

Last year, Berry became a full-time starter as a sophomore and hit .459 with 45 hits, 20 RBI, 14 doubles and two home runs while helping his team to the District 2-AAA regular season championship. He had a 1.63 earned run average in 13 appearances with 51.2 IP, 12 earned runs, 83 strikeouts and 20 walks.

Berry said that he’s had good command with a 4-seam and 2-seam fastball, a change up and a slider. He’s thrown 87-88 miles per hour with his fastball regularly and said that his strength is more crafty than flame throwing.

“I like to get in on hitter’s hands and work the corners,” Berry said. “I have a real good feel for the change up and the slider and I can locate really well. I rely on that a lot more than my velocity.”

There are still two years to go before Berry makes it up the road to Starkville, but he’s already imagining his dream coming true at Dudy Noble Field in 2020. Until then, he’s excited about watching the team moving forward and seeing how Lemonis does in his debut season.

“It’s only going up from here,” Berry said of MSU’s program. “The coaching staff is really cool and they bond really well so that will help us bond even better as a team. The team had a ton of energy last year and I like how they played as a team. There are big things ahead.”

Berry is the 11th commitment from the class of 2020 and joins four others in the state of Mississippi with Peyton Puckett of Tupelo, Kellum Clark of Jackson Academy, Cade Smith of DeSoto Central and Shane Lewis of Warren Central.