Jordan Henry: Rebel rookie, Regional veteran

Jordan Henry may be a college freshman in eligibility, but he's no rookie when it comes to NCAA Regionals in Oxford.

Jordan's been here when the Rebels have hosted. That's because his brother, Justin, has been on every NCAA Regional team Ole Miss has had the past four years. And every one of those years the Rebels have hosted in Oxford.

Justin was actually redshirted that first season and didn't play in the games. But since then the Henry family has become a fixture at Rebel baseball games, especially the ones played in June.

"The past two years (that Justin has played), I've made it to the Regionals and Super Regionals," said the Rebels' freshman right fielder. "I did miss the first night last year because of a high school all-star game or something."

He says he's enjoyed it from the stands, all the excitement and crowds and winning. He knows it will be fun on the field.

"It will be different," Jordan said. "But that will be a plus. I love playing in front of these big crowds."

Some of the largest crowds in Rebel baseball history have shown up for the postseason games of June the past four years. Only Ole Miss and Texas have hosted Regionals each of the past four seasons.

Continuing to build on his outstanding first season's resume' is one of the goals for Jordan in June. Of course, it's even more about the team and winning each game.

"Back in January, I wouldn't have believed I'd have had this type year individually," said Jordan, named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year. "But as a team we want to go as far as we can and get to Omaha. It's exciting to be starting in a Regional this weekend. We still have our goals in front of us, and it all starts again Friday night."

Jordan says with two Henrys on the team, a lot of family and friends want to attend games - those contests already played and the ones upcoming.

"I get a lot of calls and have found out I have a lot more family than I ever thought I had," he said. "People I haven't seen in forever, aunts, uncles, cousins. It's all been good, and it's great to have their support. We've definitely been in touch a lot more."

Jordan has settled in quite nicely to the leadoff role for the Rebs. He's played in all 60 games, starting 59. He's batting .365, third best on the team, with 14 RBI, one home run, two triples and four doubles. His on-base percentage is .424, third best on the team, and has stolen 12 bases in 13 attempts.

"I definitely cherish (the lead-off role)," the 18-year-old said. "Being the lead-off hitter on one of the best teams in the country is exciting for me. Just going up to the plate and leading off, I love it."

Jordan says he's a better player now than he was a year ago.

"Just being out here and practicing with a D-I team and facing the type pitching we do in practice has helped me a lot," he said. "It's something I've gotten used to as the season has progressed. I've gotten a lot more comfortable as I've become more experienced."

He says joining his brother's former teammates - Seth Smith and Stephen Head - as SEC Freshmen of the Year has meant a lot to him.

"I know those guys. I've met them," he said. "It's definitely an honor to be in the same category as those two. I do think about that, and it's exciting with all the success they had."

Jordan says the fact that he and Justin, three years older than Jordan, have been able to play together and spend time together has been special.

"The past few years, we've lived away from each other except for certain weekends," Jordan said. "This year we've definitely gotten closer and been able to do more stuff together. Now that school is out (Jordan lived in the dormitory this school year), we both live in the same house, and that's been good."

But that might not be for long. If Justin is drafted next week and turns pro, their season together will come to a fairly abrupt end - but hopefully not until a trip to the College World Series. At least that's the plan.

"I've got some roommates already line up - just in case he's not back," Jordan smiled and said. "We'll just play that by ear."

******************************

The Rebels, 37-23 and the top seed in the Oxford Regional, practiced again Tuesday afternoon. On Monday afternoon, they held an intrasquad scrimmage.

"Baker threw two innings. Rodriguez threw two innings. Cryer threw an inning. Irwin threw an inning. Satterwhite threw an inning. They all did really well," head coach Mike Bianco said. "And I thought we swung the bat well, too. Those (pitchers) needed some innings, and it was good to let the hitters get some swings off."

Bianco said he and his staff have studied up on all the teams coming to Oxford, especially the Rebels' first-game opponent Friday at 7 p.m.

"Talking to people who have played Sam Houston State, everybody says they are a good club, a team that doesn't make mistakes," he said. "They play the game the way it's supposed to be played, which is easy to believe because of their coach, Mark Johnson. They're a team that's obviously playing well, a very good No. 4 team."

The Bearkats come to Oxford 38-22 on the season. Second-seeded Southern Mississippi is 38-21, while third-seeded Troy is 34-25.

OM Spirit Top Stories