Northeast Mississippi Community College baseball standout Bailey Walker has picked up where he left off after his freshman season and in the process collected an early conference accolade.
Walker was honored as the first Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Player of the Week of the 2017 season, which includes games played between January 30 and February 5.
“He’s a good player in this league,” said Tigers head coach Richy Harrelson. “It doesn’t surprise me. He works extremely hard and he just continues to shine. We’re expecting big things from him this year and we need him to lead this team.”
Walker made the most of his eight plate appearances on opening day for the Tigers in their split with reigning National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 22 runner-up Calhoun (Ala.) Community College.
The Lake Cormorant High School graduate recorded the inaugural multiple hit performance of his sophomore campaign in the season-opener with two base knocks in three official at bats.
Walker got the year started on the right note with a sharply hit double down the left field line in the bottom of the first inning. He came around to score moments later on a RBI single from Tucker Childers.
He recorded his second consecutive hit to begin the campaign one frame later. His chopper up the middle was stopped by a diving second baseman, but the infield single brought in Eli Murphree for Walker’s initial RBI of the season.
Walker was hit by a pitch in the fourth and later completed game one with a sacrifice fly to deep left that allowed Colt Chrestman to easily touch home plate for Northeast’s eighth run of the matchup.
The 6-2, 205-pounder had only one hit in the nightcap, but it was a thunderous two-run homer that landed well beyond the scoreboard at Harold T. White Field. It was the fourth long ball of Walker’s stellar career with the Tigers.
Walker added another sacrifice fly in Northeast’s 9-1 victory over the visiting Warhawks to finish the day with five RBIs. He also had a perfect day in the outfield with four putouts and zero errors.
His batting average after the first doubleheader of the year stands at a solid .600 with a .500 on-base percentage. His slugging percentage of 1.400 is currently the best in the entire country as is his sacrifice fly total of two.
“This feels great. It’s a great award,” Walker said. “I consider myself a dirtbag. I contribute everything that I can. When they threw that first pitch, I knew I was in the zone for the rest of the day.”
Walker was a MACJC All-State selection following a freshman campaign in which he led the Tigers in batting average at .375, RBIs with 31, extra base hits with 18 and stolen bases at 11.
He now has 16 multiple hit showings to his credit at Northeast. Walker and teammate Garrison Howell became the first Tigers to accumulate over 50 hits in one season since current University of Memphis (Tenn.) star Trent Turner and Heath Wood both did so in 2014.
This is Walker’s second MACJC Player of the Week accolade. He previously captured this distinction after going 10-for-16 in series against Mississippi Delta Community College and Southwest Mississippi Community College one year ago.
Walker was also a member of the nationally ranked football program at Northeast for two seasons where he saw action both offensively as a quarterback and on special teams as the punter.
CUTLINES (PHOTOS: Michael H. Miller/Northeast Public Information)
Bailey Walker rounds the bases after crushing the first home run of his freshman season in Northeast Mississippi Community College’s 9-1 victory over Calhoun (Ala.) Community College on Saturday, February 4 at Harold T. White Field. Walker won the first Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Player of the Week award this season.
Head shot of Bailey Walker, who is the MACJC Player of the Week after a stellar weekend performance against Calhoun (Ala.) Community College.