Cody Overbeck wins Keshel Cup

UM's Cody Overbeck made a move to replace All-Amercan turned professional Chris Coghlan at third base this fall. But it may have been offensively that he stepped up even more.

The 6-foot, 190-pound, third-year sophomore from Atoka, Tenn., and Munford High School won the prestigious Keshel Cup, awarded each fall and again each spring to the statistical offensive star for those practice periods.

There's a formula, designed a couple of years ago by Ole Miss student Seth Keshel, that leads to a winner. Overbeck batted .354 in the fall with 17 hits in 48 at-bats. He had 12 RBI and four home runs.

He was at or near the top in every offensive category. And while defensive play does not figure in, Overbeck left fall ball as possibly the heir apparent to Coghlan at the hot corner.

"I swung the bat real well this fall, but it really started this summer," said Overbeck, in what looks like a two-man race for third along with redshirt freshman Devin Hicks, although some others like sophomore Evan Button could also be in the mix.

Overbeck played in the Coastal Plain League in North Carolina over the summer with the Thomasville team which won the league's championship. Overbeck's Ole Miss teammate Brett Basham was also on the squad.

Overbeck hit .274 and was second on the team in home runs with six. This fall he continued his solid hitting.

That turned into an individual title for him as the Keshel Cup winner. He says he and his teammates understand it's an important accomplishment, because it means a player has been solid at the plate and on the base paths over an extended period of time.

"We think about it," Overbeck said of winning the Cup. "Keshel is still here (in school), and he reminds us about it. He text-messaged me (the morning of the final fall intrasquad) and told me I was in the lead and not to blow it. It's something neat for us to do and work toward."

There are all kinds of stats that lead to a Keshel Cup winner. There are points awarded for everything offensive – from home runs to base on balls.

Overbeck played in 26 games last season, starting 16, mostly in the outfield. But as an infielder by trade, Overbeck was glad to have a shot at third this fall.

"I knew I'd have to step up (to get the job at third)," he said. "I just tried to go out there every day and do the best I could. I got more comfortable as the fall went along. But I still have a lot of work to do between now and the season."

Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco said Overbeck indeed had a standout fall.

"One of the reasons he had to get comfortable there was that he hadn't played there in a while," Bianco said. "He was in the outfield last season and redshirted the year before. So it took him some time to get used to playing the infield again on a regular basis."

Bianco said evaluations continue into the winter and preseason at many positions, including third base. Overbeck knows nothing's sewn up yet.

"I just have to go out every day and continue to play hard, get more comfortable, and gain more confidence," he said. "It's all about just getting out on the field every day."

Overbeck was a shortstop in high school. Junior Zack Cozart has that spot locked up again this season. So that leaves third base for Overbeck and a handful of teammates to try to get a spot in the infield.

"The ball gets to you a lot quicker and gets on you a lot faster," he said. "You have to read the hops faster. You just have a little bit more time at short. I need to continue to get better defensively. This fall was a start, but I have a ways to go."

Offensively, he appears to be already ahead of the curve. Winning the Keshel Cup proved that.

"But I can get better in that area, too," Overbeck said. "You have to keep working hard in all areas of your game."

The Rebels open the season with a two-game home series against New Orleans on Sat., Feb. 10 and Sun., Feb. 11.

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