Defying the Odds: Jeremy Massie
June 24, 2014
The ultimate storybook ending for Sardis native Jeremy Massie culminated in Omaha, Neb., on June 21 on college baseball's biggest stage.
Massie ended his Ole Miss career with one shutout inning in a postponed game against No. 3 Virginia, who came back a day later to end a magical season for the Rebels after tying a school record with 48 wins.
Although the team flight from Oxford to Omaha and back was a smooth 2-hour ride, the road from Senatobia was a longer journey with several bumps, breaks, strains and scars in the road.
Massie lettered four years at Magnolia Heights School under head coach Chris McMinn from 2007-10, helping lead the Chiefs to a 2009 state championship as a junior. As a senior, he was 6-4 on the mound with a 2.63 ERA in 10 appearances and also played left field. He was showered with awards as a senior, being named an MPSA All-Conference selection, an MAIS All-Star and Magnolia Heights School Ace Pitcher.
Everything was cruising along just as Massie had planned until April 26, 2010.
Just one week before the state playoffs in the season-ending series with Washington Academy, Massie was told to play outfield in a makeup game against Pillow Academy because coach McMinn was unsure who they'd throw in the Washington series. He wanted to keep Massie's arm fresh on the mound for the playoffs.
Towards the end of the game against Pillow, however, the plan backfired. Massie and Nathan Smith, a former Ranger soccer player, collided in left-center going for a ball and snapped both bones in his right leg below the knee. To make matters worse, It took almost an hour for the ambulance to get there.
Massie was out for the rest of the playoffs his senior year and was also unable to play summer ball like he planned. By this time he had already signed to play for head coach Mark Carson at Northwest Mississippi CC, but entered his freshman season not completely healed.
His surgery went well and he was on his way back to a full recovery months later before another unexpected thing happened. He had a skin infection show up in several places which required another surgery in January 2011 to remove the metal rod in his right leg.
He missed the entire fall of his freshman year with the Rangers and nearly nine months had passed until he was able to face live batters in spring scrimmages.
Massie took the mound for Northwest for the very first time on March 3, 2011 at Arkansas Baptist, almost 10 months after his injury, and allowed one hit in one shutout inning.
"I was really, really nervous," Massie said. "If I remember correctly, there was a ball hit back at me and it hit my hand and I think that may be why I came out. It was a scary situation. But not facing a live batter for almost a year, I was nervous but ready to get back out there."
Massie finished his freshman year 2-1 with a 2.90 ERA and a save in 13 appearances.
The following season another injury hampered him and he missed the first three weeks of his sophomore season due to an oblique strain suffered during a spring intrasquad game.
After rehabbing at Cornerstone, he made his season debut at Southwest Tennessee on March 6, 2012.
Massie went on to appear in nine games, seven starts, and was 4-2 with three complete games and a 3.57 ERA. In 47 innings pitched, he struck out 46 against 13 walks. For his efforts on the field, he earned MACJC All-State honors, and for his academics off the field, he was named a Capital One Academic All-District selection and Who's Who in addition to making the Dean's List.
Recruited by Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Mississippi College and Belhaven University, Massie wasn't ready to sign with any of those schools to continue his career and came very close to going to Mississippi State for school and giving up baseball.
"To be honest, I wanted to go to MSU because most of my family went there," Massie said. "They talked to me a little bit about walking-on early in my sophomore year and I told them I didn't know if that was a good idea. I didn't want to take that chance too early in the year in case some other offers came in."
Still unsure in late May 2012 of what his next move was, Massie finally caught a break.
"Coach Carson and coach (Bill) Selby came up to me and said coach (Carl) Lafferty needed some left-handed pitching and asked me if I would be interested in going to Ole Miss," Massie said. "I told them, definitely."
A day later, coach Lafferty came and watched Massie throw a bullpen in Senatobia and offered him a chance to walk-on. He would be promised the whole fall and then final cuts would be made in December.
Massie made the 35-man roster and 27-man travel team both seasons in Oxford and did it without a baseball scholarship, like nearly 2/3 of Division I players do each year. His grades and Phi Theta Kappa scholarship helped pay some of his tuition and the rest was out of pocket.
As a junior, Massie made 19 relief appearances for the Rebels and posted an 0-1 record with a 2.92 ERA and a save in 24.2 innings of work. Of his 19 appearances, he turned in 12 scoreless outings on the season, including two against William & Mary in the NCAA Tournament.
Massie's first-ever appearance at Oxford-University Stadium at Swayze Field came against TCU on Feb. 17 and he remembers it very well, smiling brightly when I asked the question.
"I warmed up for 4-5 innings on Friday and again on Saturday and finally got to go in on Sunday," Massie said. "I was nervous but prepared to pitch. I can remember the feeling like it was yesterday."
Heading into his senior year, Massie knew he would be a bigger contributor.
"My goal was obviously just to pitch more," Massie said. "I wanted to be out there as much as I could. I love to pitch. One thing we talked about was I needed to cut down on my walks and I feel like I controlled that better. Basically, anything I could do to help the team win more games."
Rebel fans will tell you there was something distinct about this year's team and Massie agreed it was a special group of guys. Not only did Ole Miss tie a school record with 48 wins, but they ended a 42-year drought in Omaha and were one of the last four teams standing.
"Going all the way back to the fall, we talked about being tough every day," Massie said. "We went through a lot with our new strength coach Ben Fleming and during practices. The bond was very strong. We knew we'd have a good team this spring, but how good was up to us."
After getting swept at Alabama to fall to 4-5 in the SEC in late March, the Rebels won 15 of their final 21 conference games to win the West, qualify for the SEC Tournament and host an NCAA Regional.
Ole Miss advanced to the Super Regionals after winning the Oxford Regional and lined up with No. 1 Lafayette, one of the craziest atmospheres to play college baseball.
"It was a pretty wild and hectic environment," Massie said. "They love their team and that stadium can get pretty loud. I can't repeat what some of their fans said, but they were leaning all on the fence by the bullpen when I was warming up and just talking trash and yelling at me the whole time."
Ole Miss dropped the first game 9-5 but came back to win the best-of-3 series with 5-2 and 10-4 victories to advance to the CWS.
The Rebels finished 2-2 in Omaha and Massie saw action in both games against Virginia on June 15 and 21. He threw a shutout inning in their 2-1 loss and a shutout inning in a 4-1 loss that ended his career.
He's just the second former Ranger behind Taylor Walker (USM, 2009) and second former MHS Chief behind Russ Sneed (MSU, 2007) to make it to the CWS.
Massie tossed 63.2 innings this season, fourth-most on the team, and ended the year with a 4-3 record, a save and a 2.69 ERA. He appeared in 21 games, starting in nine, and struck out 46 against 17 walks.
From nearly giving up baseball to making it to Omaha, Massie's Cinderella story was four wins and a glass slipper shy of the ultimate prize of a national championship.
He ends his four-year college baseball career a part of a combined 142 wins at Northwest and Ole Miss, a pretty impressive feat in itself.
What's next for Jeremy Massie? He'll be coaching CageRat Baseball in Indiana this summer.
Massie leaves bright and early Thursday morning for Cincinnati, Ohio, to meet his team for a tournament. That will be his first experience as a coach, his desired profession.
He'll return to Oxford this fall to be a grad manager for the Rebels while working on his master's in integrated marketing communications. He hopes to become a college coach when he's done there.
Good Turnout for First Two Summer Football Camps
June 23, 2014
SENATOBIA – Almost 50 high school student-athletes grades 8-12 showed up for Northwest's Offensive/Defensive Lineman and QB Academy/Offensive Skills Camp sponsored by Sycamore Bank June 6-7 under first-year head coach Jack Wright.
"We had a good turnout and every county in our district was represented," Wright said. "It was a great opportunity for us to get these kids on campus and take a look at them. We got to do a lot of different drills and were able to look at each position from a lot of different aspects."
Each day started off with testing and agility drills. Campers were tested in a variety of areas such as the 40-yard dash, shuttle, broad jump and L-cone drill to name a few. Each practice was split into two segments that fell into two different categories, basic fundamentals and reaction.
"Overall it was a great two days and a great turnout and we hope to see it expand in the future."
Northwest will also host a Senior Showcase on Thursday, July 10 from 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and the cost is just $5. For more information please click here for the flyer.
52 Student-Athletes Named to President's, Dean's List
June 22, 2014
SENATOBIA – The President's and Dean's List for the spring 2014 semester at Northwest Community College has been released by college officials and 52 student-athletes have been named to the prestigious lists.
Those students completing 12 or more semester hours with a grade point average of 3.75 or better in a four-point system were eligible for the recognition on the President's List, while Dean's List recipients must have had a 3.50-3.74 grade point average. The complete list of those who qualified is below.
Alex Barrett, Softball
Breanna Bess, Cheer
Emily Castoria, Soccer
Lauren Carson, Cheer
Shelbi Dunlap, Cheer
Lydia Dias, Softball
Rachel Elkins, Soccer
Samuel Edmondson, Football
Elainna Ferrell, Rangerette
Will Faulkner, Baseball
Jason Farmer, Soccer
Bree Francis, Soccer
Dominic Geraci, Soccer
Roxanna Kimes, Softball
Leah Lytle, Basketball
James Lear, Baseball
Sharkey Luna, Football
Katelyn McCluskey, Cheer
Allie Mahoney, Rangerette
Holly Newman, Soccer
Naomi Newcom, Softball
Brennan Pugh, Baseball
Ashley Roberson, Tennis
Ashlee Rogers, Soccer
Taylor Renth, Soccer
Julia Roberson, Tennis
Hannah Switzer, Tennis
Jake Austin Smith, Baseball
Taylor Thevenot, Soccer
Janie Turner, Softball
Jessica Thompson, Soccer
Hannah Waldrip, Tennis
Peyton Willoughby, Baseball
Kayla Witt, Cheer
Alex Young, Soccer
Kristin Young, Soccer
Kendall Alford, Softball
Micalah Beall, Softball
Jacquelyn Brooks, Basketball
Sidney Bond, Soccer
Domenick Carlini, Baseball
Peyton Clanton, Softball
Tanner Densford, Baseball
Peter Geraci, Soccer
Kramer Hollenbach, Baseball
Madison Jarrell, Tennis
Chip Malone, Tennis
Drennan Nemnich, Softball
Randi Robison, Tennis
Anna Rosenbaum, Tennis/Basketball
Haley Vance, Softball
Katelyn Westbrook, Softball
Dee Woods Playing in Prestigious Drew League
June 19, 2014
LOS ANGELES – Darius Woods, a former Ranger and rising senior point guard at Martin Methodist College, has taken his talents to Hollywood to play with some of the big boys this summer in the Drew League.
Established in 1973, the Drew League is recognized as the No. 1 Pro-Am Basketball League in the world.
A long list of notable NBA players have graced the Drew floor, including Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Paul George and James Harden just to name a few.
Woods played for former head coach Jimmy Adams at Northwest during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, averaging 7.7 points, 3.3 assists and 2.1 rebounds a contest in 45 games (18 starts). Woods also chipped in 64 career steals while shooting at a 40 percent clip from the floor and 73 percent from the charity stripe.
As a sophomore, Woods saw action in a career-high 23 games and became the first Ranger since 2008-09 to eclipse 100 assists in a season (106). He went on to play in the MACJC All-Star Game at season's end.
Woods transferred to MMC and red-shirted the 2012-13 season. As a junior last season, Woods led the team in scoring and averaged 13.2 points-per-game, dished out a team-high 124 assists and was second on the team with 37 steals. He shot 39 percent from the floor and a team-best 84 percent from the free throw line.
The Drew has been a Mecca for west coast pro-am basketball for 40 years and it is only getting stronger. To learn more, visit their website at www.drewleague.com.
SID Office Earns 3 CoSIDA Publications Awards
June 17, 2014
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Northwest sports information office was honored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) with three awards for excellence in publications, it was announced Monday.
"This is a huge honor for me and at the same time gets Northwest the national recognition it deserves," sports information director Kevin Maloney said. "I take a lot of pride in everything that is produced in our office, and when you receive awards like this, it just means that someone else also notices the hard work."
The 2014 baseball/softball media guide took top honors in the college division in the category of multi-sport guides by being named "Best in the Nation." The 2013 soccer tri-fold was also named "Best in the Nation" while the cover was tabbed "Best Cover" in the college division category of single-sport guides.
Maloney is entering his fifth year at Northwest and has garnered numerous awards in his short time in Senatobia. All told, Maloney has received six national awards by CoSIDA and 11 from the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi (CPRAM) for his work with publications, social media and print media.
A link to some of the most recent athletic publications can be found here.