Senior spotlight: Brookhaven Academy baseball seniors leave championship legacy
The two most recent additions to the scoreboard at Williams-Gillis Ballpark commemorate state championship seasons for Brookhaven Academy baseball in 2018 and 2019.
A big piece of that championship puzzle was the five-man senior class that saw its 2020 season cut short due to Covid-19.
And like their senior brethren all over the county, state and country, the sting of losing their final season is still a strong pain for Harrison Brownlee, Britton Nelson, Nick Ogden, Brady Spring and Tanner Watts.
A small consolation for the Cougars is that the championship memories are still somewhat fresh. It hardly feels like a year has passed since Ogden was drilling a game winning, walk-off double to give BA a title-clinching win over Tri-County Academy.
First year BA baseball coach Caleb Upton didn’t get to coach this group of seniors very long, but the talent and big game experience from them is evident to even a casual fan.
“You hate it for all the different kids that are going through this, but you especially hate it for this group of guys,” said Upton. “They had put in their time as underclassmen and been part of some big wins. It was finally their chance to lead and they were doing a great job of that. District play was just beginning for us and the team had really started to come together when the season was stopped.”
Baseball isn’t over for all of the group as Ogden, Spring and Watts have all signed junior college scholarships. Upton — a standout catcher at Hinds during his time as a JUCO student-athlete — says that trio has all the tools needed for the next level.
“They are a talented group of guys that have played a ton of baseball in their lives,” said Upton. “When I think about them though it’s about how tight-knit they are. Their success is a testament to the type of people they are off the field.”
The son of Kyle and Klancey Brownle, Harrison plans to continue his education at Copiah-Lincoln Community College while majoring in automation and control engineering technology. An athlete who was strong defensively in the outfield, Brownlee was also part of a state championship team at Loyd Star as a freshman before transferring to Brookhaven Academy. Brownlee was also a Daily Leader All-Area honorable mention selection in football as a senior.
The son of Guy and Page Nelson, Britton plans to attend Copiah-Lincoln Community College and major in business. Nelson came back to baseball after sitting out his junior year and was also a Daily Leader All-Area selection in basketball as a point guard where he helped guide the Cougars to a pair of state titles on the hardwood.
The son of Bill Ogden and Michelle Smith, Nick plans to attend Gulf Coast Community College on a baseball scholarship while majoring in teaching and coaching. A big bat in the middle of the lineup who also pitched in some huge situations for the Cougars, Ogden was a Daily Leader All-Area selection in football as a senior as well as an All-Area and MAIS All-State baseball pick his junior season.
The son of Randy and Amy Spring, Brady plans to next attend Jones College on a baseball scholarship while pursuing a major in sports administration. An outstanding infielder who made just 19 combined errors in four years of varsity baseball while hitting for average and power, Spring was an MAIS All-State selection last season along with also being picked for the Daily Leader All-Area team.
The son of Jason and Heather Watts, Tanner plans to attend Copiah-Lincoln Community College on a baseball scholarship while also pursuing a major in business. A power pitcher who won a slew of big games over his career, Watts was also a starting pitcher for a state championship team at Loyd Star as a freshman. He was an MAIS All-State selection last year as well as a Daily Leader All-Area selection.