May 27, 2014 11:23:48 PM
Scott Walters - [email protected]
Columbus High School celebrated one of its most successful baseball seasons with awards and good food Tuesday night at the school's baseball banquet.
In addition, seniors Michael Sturdivant and Greg Sykes completed the paperwork to play on the next level, as Sturdivant signed with NCAA Division III member Rust College, while Sykes signed with Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges member Coahoma Community College.
Columbus finished 23-8 and won two playoff series for the first time in program history.
"It is a wonderful opportunity," Sturdivant said. "I give all the glory to God. He is the overhead of my life. Without Him, nothing is possible but with Him all things are possible. I am just overjoyed to be blessed with the opportunity to keep playing."
For Sykes, the opportunity to play at Coahoma took a while to put together but was well worth the wait.
"Having played baseball since I was little, this is a dream come true," Sykes said. "Everybody strives for playing at the next level when their high school career is over. It is just great to know that I can play for some more years."
Columbus had plenty to celebrate Tuesday night. This senior class won 70 games in the past four seasons and advanced four straight seasons to the playoffs. Sturdivant and Sykes played a huge role in that success.
"It has been a great four year ride," Sturdivant said. "I can't ask for anything better. Coach (Jeffrey) Cook is one of the best coaches around. He doesn't get the credit he deserves. He taught us how to play the game as a team and how not to be selfish.
"Ever since our freshman year, we have had 70 wins and this year we had 23. That says a lot. We should have had a state championship but that wasn't meant to be."
Sykes remembers playing with many of these seniors all through grade school.
"It is going to be very different when I look out there and don't know all of the other guys," Sykes said. "For the most part, we have played together since playground days. This group will always mean a lot to me. They are like brothers."
Also at Tuesday's festivities, Chris McCullough, Hunter Mullis and Trace Lee were named co-Most Valuable Players. Isaiah Farmer was named Best Defensive Player, while Gevonta Webb was named Best Offensive Player. Sykes and Sturdivant shared Most Improved honors.
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Scott is sports copy editor and reporter