The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will honor the best baseball player in our state on Monday, May 18. One of five nominees will receive the C Spire Wireless Ferriss Trophy, which is named after legendary player, coach and Hall of Famer David "Boo" Ferriss.
Mississippi has a rich baseball history, with our fair share of players who go on to have an impact in MLB. Our state has enjoyed great baseball in the college game at all levels in recent years. Jackson State University has reached a regional in the NCAA Baseball Tournament the last two seasons. The University of Southern Mississippi reached the College World Series in 2009, Mississippi State University made it all the way to the 2013 Championship Series, losing the title to the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Mississippi reached the semifinals in the 2014 World Series before the University of Virginia knocked them out.
While college baseball may overshadow softball for some fans, it's just as competitive and filled with great players. Southern Miss reached the Women's College World Series in 1999 and 2000, and this year, Mississippi State, Mississippi Valley State University, Jackson State and Alcorn State University have all reached softball regionals.
Currently, Belhaven University softball is playing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics' regional in Alexandria, La., as the No. 3 seed, and Mississippi State faces Baylor University May 15 in the Division I NCAA Softball Tournament. Delta State University reached the Division II NCAA Softball Tournament last season.
As you can see, Mississippi fields strong softball teams each season, as well. While the best baseball player gets honored with the Ferriss Trophy, isn't it time we also honor the best softball player in our state?
The solution is easy: When the best baseball player is honored, why don't we honor the best softball player, too?
It could follow the same format as basketball. The best men's basketball player in the state receives the Howell Trophy, which is named after Hall of Famer Bailey Howell, and the top women's player receives the Gillom Trophy, named after Hall of Famer Peggy Gillom.
Mississippi college softball already has a worthy player to name the award after: Courtney Blades-Rogers, a former pitcher at Southern Miss. She was the greatest softball player to play in any of the programs in this state and the only one inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
Adding the Blades-Rogers Trophy would be a great way to honor the best softball player in state history and give the recognition to the current softball players. One day, I hope Rick Cleveland and the rest of his staff and board of directors at the Hall of Fame will make this happen.
Follow Bryan Flynn at jfpsports.com, @jfpsports and at facebook.com/jfpsports.