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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU students show up, show out at Student Home Run Derby

Brooks Surber
MSU baseball players lined up to offer batters encouragement.

Joe Diffey’s “John Deere Green” blared over the speakers Tuesday night as Mississippi State University students hummed along and marched one by one toward the visitor’s side dugout of Dudy Noble Field. Indistinct chatter among the students grew louder and louder as more people piled in for their chance to become a home run legend at MSU’s annual Student Home Run Derby.

While many retired athletes and newbies were giddy for a chance to swing the bat on their most beloved SEC diamond, some people were simply there for the laughs and to snag a free T-shirt.

After signing a waiver, students made their trek down to the field, took a deep breath and braved the eyes of the crowd and the Mississippi State baseball players hovering close to the home run hopefuls. Head coach Chris Lemonis and his team offered words of encouragement – or whispers of slight judgement – and fist bumps to each and every student who stepped up to the plate.

A group of men wearing Mississippi State shirts and worn-out tennis shoes gave each other pep talks and discussed their expectations for the night.

“I’m hoping to miss one and everyone make fun of me. Then, I’ll hit another one really far and everyone will go ‘ooo’ or ‘ahh.’ That would be the best thing possible,” senior marketing major and retired baseball player Dakota Ashby said.

Andy Jennings, a senior kinesiology major wearing blue jeans and shiny cowboy boots, said he was not quite aware that his friends were bringing him to a home run derby. However, he was there for moral support and to help them prepare to swing for the fences.

“I’m the bat boy,” Jennings said with two beat up bats in his hands. “I’ve been deemed the bat boy the minute I got here. Yeah, I’ll just be here to watch for the most part.”

MSU students were escorted onto the field in groups of five or less, making the process take longer than expected. However, nobody seemed to mind waiting in the long line.

After getting their five seconds of fame and five chances to hit the ball, students picked up a free “Dudes” t-shirt and sat in the stands to watch their peers.

While the home run derby was planned only to last from 6-8 p.m., students were still waiting for their turn to hit as the event was coming to an end. Head coach Lemonis made a sarcastic but reassuring announcement to the crowd.

“That was our last hitter, it’s 8 o’clock,” Lemonis said as over 20 people were still lined up. “If you are not on the field… I’m just joking, we’re going to let everybody hit, alright? We’ll keep the doors open for y’all.”

MSU students continued to take their chances at the plate until almost 9 p.m. Unfortunately, there were no dingers or moonshots this year, but nobody seemed to walk out of Dudy Noble Field disappointed.

“I’ve been on some big fields before, but to hit at The Dude is just special,” senior business major and baseball enthusiast Colten Ross said. “It was really fun. It’s something that I never thought I’d be able to do, and something I’ll probably never be able to do again. So, I’m glad I got to take advantage of it.”

About the Contributor
Aubrey Carter
Aubrey Carter, Managing Editor
Aubrey Carter is a junior communication major with a concentration in broadcast & digital journalism from Birmingham, Alabama. She currently serves as the Managing Editor and served as the Sports Editor from 2023 to 2024. [email protected]
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