Newark, N.Y. – The Newark Pilots have established a pipeline to the Magnolia State for the 2016 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) season, with the addition of four players with ties to Mississippi.
A traditional power in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Region XXIII, Hinds Community College will send freshmen Acy Owen, Chase Cockrell, and Darrius Wright to upstate New York this summer. Joining the three Eagles will be former Hinds standout Luke Reynolds, who transferred to Mississippi State University following his freshman season.
Owen is a first-year catcher for the Eagles. He rebounded from a slow start with a red-hot finish in April and May. He posted 20 of his 29 hits in the final five weeks of the season en route to a robust .269 average in his rookie season. His turnaround began with a 3-for-3 performance against Coahoma Community College on April 2. Owen followed that up with a season-high four hits in the nightcap of a doubleheader against Pearl River Community College on April 5. Overall, he posted at least one hit in 13-of-14 games from April 2 through April 27. The Brandon, Miss., native finished with 16 RBIs, six runs, three doubles, and two homers. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound freshman also worked out 14 walks, boosting his on-base percentage to .416.
Originally from Bastrop, La., Cockrell paced the Hinds offense in almost every category in 2016 after earning recognition as one of the top incoming freshman in the region by the NJCAA. He led the Eagles with 60 hits, 45 runs, and 19 doubles, while coming in second with a .335 batting average, a .564 slugging percentage, 30 RBIs and six home runs. Cockrell began his collegiate career with a bang, homering in the February 10 season-opener against Bossier Parish Community College. He continued to punish Bossier Parish with a four-hit, five-RBI effort on February 17, highlighted by a two-run dinger. After a tremendous debut season, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound third baseman has signed to play in the Southeastern Conference with the University of Mississippi.
Wright has been a workhorse out of the bullpen for the Eagles, having made 22 total appearances on the mound as a freshman. The Yazoo City, Miss., product has a 1-1 record and an earned-run average of 4.73 in 40.0 innings of work. He also sits third on the squad with 40 strikeouts. The 6-foot-0, 160-pound right-handed hurler opened his rookie campaign with a pair of scoreless innings and three punch outs against Bossier Parish on February 17. His first career victory came on March 13, when Wright tossed a season-high 6.0 innings with six strikeouts against Itawamba Community College. He tied his season best with six more strikeouts in 3.2 frames against Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on March 23.
Reynolds began his career at Hinds 2014, as he helped elevate the Eagles to the NJCAA World Series that spring. En route to a Region XXXII Championship, he paced Hinds with a .376 average, 82 hits, and 63 runs scored while seeing most of his time at third base. He was crowned the team’s MVP and a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State First Teamer, which helped earn a scholarship to continue his career at Mississippi State. He was second on the Bulldogs with a .439 on-base percentage and third with a .304 batting average as a sophomore. Originally from Forest, Miss., Reynolds was redshirted prior to the 2016 season and has announced his decision to transfer to the University of Southern Mississippi to finish his collegiate career.
The Newark Pilots open the 2016 PGCBL season on the road on Wednesday, June 1, against the Jamestown Jammers. The home opener at historic Colburn Park is scheduled for Friday, June 3, at 7:05 p.m. against the Geneva Red Wings. For more information and to purchase season tickets, please contact team president Leslie Ohmann at 315-576-6710 or firstname.lastname@example.org.