Rebels add shortstop to signing class

As recently as three weeks ago, Kevin Mort didn't even have the state of Mississippi on his radar – no reason to really being a California native. But all that changed with a few phone calls and a couple days of thought.

Mort, a shortstop from Rio Hondo (Calif.) Community College, and Ole Miss recruiting coordinator Rob Reinstetle established a relationship quickly, and a scholarship offer was extended last Saturday. This past Monday, Mort accepted and will report to Ole Miss around August 20.

"I am extremely excited and can't wait to get there," Mort said. "I got that first phone call from Coach Rob and everything just fell in place."

The rising junior is coming off a year where he led the Roadrunners with a .388 average. The Roadrunner totaled 14 doubles, 26 RBI and 36 runs scored. Mort batted leadoff this past season after occupying the two-hole his freshman campaign, where he hit .337.

The West Covina, Calif., native is a two-time All-Conference selection and was recently named All-Southern California after his sophomore year. Mort sees defense as the best part of his game. He carried a .935 fielding percentage in the middle infield.

"It is all about playing within yourself and playing with confidence," Mort said. "I trust myself and know I can compete for a spot. Coach Rob said there will be competition, and I am looking forward to it.

"I know defense at the position was a problem last year, and that is why Coach started looking in California for a player."

Mort will join three other current shortstops on the roster, as Evan Button, Tim Ferguson and Sean Stuyverson are all expected to return next season. Ferguson won the shortstop slot this past year after Button was sidelined with a back injury.

"I know that Ferguson was a very talented freshman, and it won't be easy to win the job," Mort said. "Coach mentioned Evan Button, and I hope he is able to come back healthy and 100 percent. It would be tragic to lose your career to injury. Plus, our team will be that much better."

The West Coast product has been to Alabama but never Mississippi. However, Mort doesn't see the location change as much of an issue. He has been doing some research.

"I knew about the school because I follow baseball nationally," Mort said. "I have been constantly checking out their web site and looking at some pictures of the stadium. It is a comfortable community to be in. We are trying to get a recruiting trip worked out before I report in August."

Before deciding on Ole Miss, Mort was considering Northern Colorado and Lindenwood (St. Charles, Mo.)

"Northern Colorado is a good baseball school, but they aren't big time," Mort said. "I know what Ole Miss is about, and I look forward to spending two years there."

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