After hitting his first varsity home run over the weekend, Nixa sophomore Jack Edwards wasn’t awarded the home run ball.
“I’ll have to see if I can find it,” Edwards said in the aftermath of the Eagles’ win against Columbia Hickman as part of the Hollister/Rogersville Tournament.
Eagles coach Logan Hughes joked the reason none of Edwards’ teammates had retrieved the home run ball was because they couldn’t get to it.
“That’s because it’s on top of (Hollister’s) high school,” Hughes said.
Edwards went on to record his second Nixa home run Saturday. There probably will be many more home run balls to collect in his future.
Edwards is splitting the Eagles’ catching duties with senior all-stater Jaret Nelson and also getting at-bats by either playing first base or DH’ing.
Hughes has been adamant to find a way to get Edwards at-bats.
“Catcher, DH, or first base, his bat will be in the lineup,” Hughes said.
“Dude can swing it,” Nelson added.
Edwards, who had three hits in nine at-bats as a freshman, was hoping this would be a breakout year for him.
“I practiced and lifted a lot in the off-season, so I felt good coming in,” Edwards said. “I had a shaky start to the season. But I've gotten (going) and have had a lot of good hits. I’m starting (my varsity career) early. I'm excited what I can do this year and my next two years, as well.”
The Nelson-Edwards catching combo may be about as good as it gets statewide. They teamed for five home runs in Nixa’s three-game tourney sweep, with Nelson delivering a game-ending homer against St. Francis Borgia.
The Eagles are confident by rotating Nelson and Edwards behind the plate they both will be strong to the finish.
“We're both great catchers,” Edwards said. We're going to take turns because we have a lot of games. We've got 34 (regular-season) games, so it helps to have two catchers.”
“That's why we keep alternating them,” Hughes said. “We have two really good catchers and we want to keep them fresh all year. I've always been a guy who likes to do that so it doesn't affect their legs or swing later in the season.”