PriorityOne Bank Baseball Player of the Week – 4-26
By Robert Wilson
The late Brian Cole of Meridian is considered one of the greatest baseball players in Mississippi history. An incredible athlete who received Division I offers to play college football and was selected in the Major League Baseball draft at Meridian High, Cole was named the Navarro (Texas) Junior National Junior Player of the Year. College and was on the fast track to the big leagues – being named the New York Mets Minor League Player of the Year in 2000 – before being killed in a car accident at age 22.
Jackson Academy baseball coach Parker Harris, who played with Cole at Meridian, said Cole was the only player he’s seen whose batting speed compares to JA senior outfielder Dakota Jordan. .
Jordan showed his batting speed last week when he hit .545 (6 of 11) with 3 homers, 7 runs and 12 RBIs in last week’s three-game MAIS Class 6A series against Madison-Ridgeland Academy, the #1 team in Mississippi by MaxPreps.
For his outstanding performance, Jordan was named Baseball Player of the Week by Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson.
The 6-foot, 215-pound Jordan, a football and baseball signing from Mississippi State and a transfer from Canton Academy, is one of the hottest hitters in the country right now. He’s hit nine homers in his last seven games and broke Matt Denny’s school record (12 in 2011) on Friday night in JA’s 10-5 win over MRA at MRA when he hit two homers to give him 13 on the season. Jordan is tied for second in the nation for home runs, according to MaxPreps. The MAIS record for most homers in a season is Copiah Academy’s Hunter Renfroe – now with the Milwaukee Brewers – who hit 20 in 2010.
“Like Brian, the Dakota is special,” said Harris, who played with Cole at Meridian in the mid-1990s. “Brian had incredible batting speed. I’ve never seen anything like it. People compared his batting speed to Barry Bonds. Dakota’s is similar and he has really fast hands. He’s amazing. Dakota reminds me a lot of Brian. Dakota has been playing really well the last three weeks. He’s more patient at the plate, staying on himself and focusing on the line strikes. He makes solid contact. Not only that, but Dakota is also a great leader. He encourages his teammates, goes about his business and plays the game the right way.
Cole hit 22 home runs—one shy of the then-Mississippi record of 23 by Shannon’s Dave Clark in 1980—and hit .505 with 46 RBIs in 31 games for Meridian in 1997. After a year of college junior where he hit 27 homers, Cole was drafted by the New York Mets and quickly became one of the best minor league players in the country when his potential major league career was cut short by his tragic accident in 2001. .
Jordan could possibly be on the same path to the major leagues. His numbers in high school are remarkable.
Jordan improved his batting average to .547 (47 of 86) and has 12 doubles, 3 triples and 13 homers. He scored three runs Friday to give him 42 runs and had five RBIs to give him 47 RBI for the season. Jordan could break school records for hits, runs and RBIs. He’s on course to break school records for on-base percentage (improved to .645 after Friday’s game) and slugging percentage (improved to 1.209 after Friday’s game).
Jordan hits .681 with a 1.955 hitting percentage with 15 runs scored and 25 RBI in his last seven games.
Athlon Sports listed Jordan as the 30th-top high school prospect in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft in an article this month. 30and high school player was chosen as the 100and overall pick late in the third round of last year’s MLB draft and his signing bonus was over $1 million.
JA, 18-10 overall and 5-7 in conference, hosts four-time defending MAIS champion Jackson Prep, ranked No. 17 nationally by Perfect Game, this week in the final three-game conference series of the regular season. season. Prep is 25-5 overall and 10-2 in conference, in first place and earned a first-round bye next week. JA is currently in fourth place but could finish third to fifth. Both teams play the first game today at 6:30 p.m. at JA in Northeast Jackson.