Former Ellsworth Community College baseball player, Melvin Rodriguez, has had a great deal of success since leaving the Panthers and transferring to Jackson State University in Jackson, MS.
Just recently, Jackson State defeated Alabama State 9-8 to win their 16th Southwestern Athletic Conference championship. The win gave JSU the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, making it the fourth time the Tigers recorded back-to-back championships.
Rodriguez led the Tigers with three hits in the contest. JSU was down by one run after five innings, but took the lead for good after a three-run sixth inning that began with Rodriguez's RBI single to left, scoring a teammate.
The Tigers had their fair share of distractions going into the game, considering that only 12 days prior, the team bus caught on fire as they were traveling to Savannah, GA. None of the players or coaches were injured but that couldn't be said about much of their equipment. Nearby colleges Ole Miss and Mississippi State volunteered to help JSU prepare for their conference tournament. They donated equipment such as bats and balls.
Along with the team's success, Rodriguez has had a lot of individual success while at JSU. This year he was named an All SWAC Baseball First Team third baseman. He was also listed top five in many statistical categories for the team: third in batting average at .310, second in slugging percent with .439, fourth in on base percentage with .440, third in runs scored with 33, first in hits with 58, first in runs batted in with 45, third in doubles with 11, second in triples with 2, second in home runs with three, second in total bases with 82, and first in walks with 41.
"Melvin was a tremendous student athlete at ECC," commented Athletic Director and former ECC Head Baseball Coach Nate Forsyth. "Melvin worked very hard in the classroom and on the practice field. He is a leader both on and off the field. I was blessed to have coached him."
Photo included: Melvin Rodriguez celebrating after the team's win.