Coming out of high school Berkery received letters from a lot of schools, but was recruited mainly by State and the University of South Florida. While Coach McMahon recruited him, the hiring of Coach Ron Polk only strengthened his decision. About Polk he said, "it's wonderful to have him. He's the best coach in the land. It surprised me when Coach McMahon called and said he might be going to Florida, but I was fine with it because Coach Polk is a good coach."
Another reason why Berkery decided to choose State is because of everything great that has come before him. When asked why he came here he said, "tradition, the name. I came on my visit I just knew it was right. They showed me the highlight video and the lounge, and I just knew this was the place for me. I'm excited about playing in such a large setting."
Berkery said he is looking forward to playing with the defending SEC champions, "I'm excited. I just want to come in and do what I can do. Hopefully we can repeat as SEC champions and move on even further."
Again Berkery will primarily be used as a catcher while at State, and he talked about the strengths of his game. He said, "I have a good arm, and I'm quick to second base. I'm pretty smart behind the plate." These are definitely good qualities to look for in a catcher, and should deter base runners from trying to steal a lot against the Bulldogs.
Polk is always known for having solid pitching staffs. Last year's Georgia Bulldog team is an example. With MSU's crop of talented pitchers, Berkery said he looks forward to the challenge of working with the squad to get better. "I love it." Berkery said. "You want to be the best so you play with the best. That just helps everything out playing with such a good staff."
Berkery has definitely come to a place where he can play with the best. Once SEC play starts, he will have a chance to prove himself in one of the toughest conferences in the country. "I'm excited to see what it's like to play in the SEC. I know it's one of the top conferences in the country for a lot of sports, so I'm excited to see what I can do."
Thomas is not the only player looking forward to the season. He said, "everybody is excited. The team got a lot more mature last year, and everyone is ready to go."
Based on that observation by Thomas, you feel certain the team is on the same page, and that they are unified in their goals.
It is good to have someone like Berkery coming into the program. He is a very nice guy to talk to, and took some time out of his Friday afternoon to talk about the season for this story. Hopefully he will be able to help the pitching staff and the team improve. He is looking forward to getting a chance to make a difference.
Hank Allen is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. Hank is a student at Mississippi State University. He is also a reporter for the student newspaper, The Reflector. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.