HATTIESBURG, Miss. - With the success that Southern Miss baseball has had in recent years, Golden Eagle players representing that sport are often lauded for their actions both on and off the playing field.
One award that ranks at the top of that list is the Col. Tyler Fletcher Leadership Award, which is given annually to a baseball player who demonstrates leadership both on the field and in the community. Fletcher, a retired Southern Miss faulty member in criminal justice, is a long-time supporter of the Golden Eagle program and the university as a whole.
This year's recipient is senior left-handed pitcher Paxton King from Brookhaven, Miss. King is the second honoree for the award, after Collin Cargill was honored last season with its inaugural presentation.
"I feel extremely honored to receive this award," King said. "As players here at Southern Miss, we are taught not only how to play the game but also given the guidance on how to represent ourselves away from the baseball field. My goal has been to become not only the type of player, but also person that Coach Berry has wanted for every person on this team."
King has posted a 3-2 career record with 39 strikeouts over 56 2/3 innings in 38 outings over his three-year career. Last season, he posted a 1-1 mark, including a career-long appearance at Louisiana-Lafayette in which he struck out nine over 5 2/3 innings of work.
In the previous season, King fanned five Rice batters over three innings. As a freshman, he captured his last two decisions, winning over Houston and versus Mississippi State - both in relief.
"This award is most deserved by Paxton," said fourth-year coach Scott Berry. "He has been an integral part of this program for the past four years and he continues to represent our program exceptionally well both as a person and someone who has been active in the community."
Col. Tyler Fletcher Leadership Award Recipients
2012 - Paxton King, Brookhaven, Miss.
2011 - Collin Cargill, Hattiesburg, Miss.