Renfroe Brings Home Boo Ferriss Trophy

Opponents were already showing him the surest sign of respect, by pitching-around Hunter Renfroe often as possible despite his recent struggles. Now scouts, coaches, and media have voted their own regard and named Mississippi State's slugging outfielder the best ballplayer in the entire state.

Renfroe has won the Boo Ferriss Trophy for 2013, in a lunchtime presentation at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. He was one of the five finalists for the annual award, sponsored by C Spire Wireless.

This year's competition for the Trophy was particularly tight by all appearances, and a late-season batting slump could have pushed Renfroe down the list with voters. Fortunately everyone looked more at his overall body of junior-year work, not least that Renfroe finished the regular season first in SEC home runs (15) and has at times lately led in batting average, in on-base percentage, and of course slugging. His statistics have taken a hit, so to speak, down the stretch as opponents don't want to give him anything good to hit.

Maybe the best measure at the moment is that Renfroe finished 51 regular-season games with 33 walks and six hit-by-pitches compared to 34 strikeouts.

During the morning SEC teleconference, and speaking just before the Trophy luncheon, Coach John Cohen was asked by an out-of-state writer if Renfroe was the best batter he had worked with. "I don't know if he's the best hitter I've ever coached," Cohen said. "I do think he is the most gifted athlete on the baseball field I've very coached. He's a legitimate five-tool guy. He's a rare bird, he can do so many athletic things."

It is of course fitting for a Bulldog and a Mississippi native to receive an award named for one of the all-time greats of this state and Mississippi State. Ferriss, a 1941-42 letterman at State and six-year professional, is also a member of the MSU and Mississippi sports halls of fame. Renfroe becomes the fourth Diamond Dog to take the trophy, following Thomas Berkery in 2006, Edward Easley in 2007, and last year Chris Stratton. The award was first presented in 2004.

Renfroe and Cohen were returning to campus after the Trophy ceremony for an afternoon practice to end around 5:00, with the Diamond Dogs leaving for Hoover shortly afterwards. #5 seeded Mississippi State plays #12 Missouri in Tuesday's late game at the SEC Tournament where State is defending its 2012 championship.

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