May 13, 2009
William Beckwith picked a good time to start swinging a hot bat for the Meridian Community College baseball team.
Beckwith, a 2008 graduate of West Lowndes High School, went 12-for-18 with eight RBIs in four games to help MCC win the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at Baton Rouge, La., last weekend.
"I''d been waiting for that to happen," Beckwith said of getting hot at the plate. "It felt great because I was helping my team get wins. (The ball looked) like a beach ball. It was a great feeling."
MCC (37-17) defeated Delgado Community College 15-10 in 13 innings in the Region 23 Tournament championship game.
Beckwith''s production helped propel MCC to the NJCAA South Central District Tournament at Maple Woods College in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday and Friday.
The other teams in the tournament will be Region 16 champion Maple Woods (38-17) and Region 2 winner Seminole State College (37-17), of Seminole, Okla.
The winner of the tournament will advance to the NJCAA World Series.
Beckwith, a freshman left fielder and first baseman, has been an integral part of MCC''s success.
"He''s done a heck of a job for us and has come up with some big hits," MCC coach Chris Rose said. "I think he had three of four hits in that (Region 23) championship game, and he had a bunch of RBIs. He finds RBIs. He drives in runs."
In 51 games this season, Beckwith has 62 hits in 160 at-bats for a .388 average. He also has four home runs, nine doubles, and 32 RBIs.
"I''m doing OK," Beckwith said. "I''m hitting better. I believe since the playoffs I''m swinging the bat good, and I''ve come a long way."
Rose said Beckwith believes the future is very promising for the slugger.
"His tools project highly," Rose said. "I think he definitely has a chance to play pro ball, whether it''s after this year or after next year. He''s maturing a lot. He still plays the game like a 10-year-old, which is good, but you still have to put in your work, which he realizes he has to do that. He''s taken leaps and bounds."
Beckwith turned down an opportunity to begin a pro career last summer after the Kansas City Royals drafted him in the 46th round.
"I really wanted to go to college and work to get an education," Beckwith said. "I wanted to get better in baseball and decided to go to college for a year or two."
Beckwith''s focus is helping MCC win the district tournament and advance to the World Series.
"We''re playing real well," Beckwith said. "If we keep our energy level up and keep hitting like we are I believe we''ll do real well."
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