Hunter Renfroe, Mississippi State’s slugging junior outfielder from Crystal Springs, Monday was named the 10th winner of the C Spire Ferriss Trophy, which goes to the most outstanding college baseball player in Mississippi.
“It’s the greatest honor of my baseball career,” said Renfroe afterwards. “It was an honor to be on the platform with these other talented players and such a thrill to win an award named after Coach Ferriss.”
Renfroe was chosen by a panel of Major League scouts and college coaches as the winner over the other four finalists: pitcher Josh Branstetter of Delta State, pitcher Andrew Pierce of Southern Miss, catcher Stuart Turner of Ole Miss and pitcher Bobby Wahl of Ole Miss. All five of the Ferriss finalists are among candidates for still-to-be-named National Player of the Year awards.
“I have been covering these C Spire awards series in football, basketball and baseball for years, and I cannot remember a single instance when we had this many deserving finalists,” said Rick Cleveland, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. “In any other given year, any of these five finalists would have been a deserving winner.”
Renfroe led the Southeastern Conference in home runs with 15 and in slugging percentage with .696. He batted .362 and is expected to be a first round draft pick in the upcoming Major League draft.
John Cohen, in introducing Renfroe, noted that Renfroe almost didn’t receive a Division I scholarship out of Copiah Academy three years ago.
“Hunter had signed with Meridian Community College, but my coaches kept telling me we really needed to sign him,” Cohen said. “My response was that if he’s so good, why is he still available this late in the game? How come nobody else is recruiting him?”
State assistants finally convinced Renfroe to take a look, and one game was all it took.
“Hunter is a guy who can do it all,” Cohen said.
All five finalists brought gaudy statistics to the podium Monday, including:
• Branstetter, who had 9-3 record as the ace of the Delta State staff, striking out 82 and walking just 19.
• Pierce, USM’s ace from Stringer, who was 9-2, striking out 92 and walking just 18.
• Turner, the Ole Miss catcher, who was excellent defensively and hit .377 for the Rebels.
• Wahl, the Rebels’ right-handed ace, who finished 9-0 with an earned run average of 1.99.
By far the largest crowd in Ferriss Trophy history, right at 250, attended the luncheon, at which the undefeated state champion Magnolia Heights Academy baseball team also was recognized for its achievement.
There were three standing ovations: one for Boo Ferriss, one for the Magnolia Heights 37-0 team and, finally, for Renfroe.