SHS teammates Bentley, Campbell sign with EMCC

Carter Bentley, SHS coach Travis Garner and Austin Campbell
By: 
DANNY P. SMITH
Staff Writer

One of the first people that Austin Campbell called when he made the decision to accept an offer to play baseball at East Mississippi Community College was Starkville High School teammate Carter Bentley.
Campbell already knew that Bentley was going to further his career with the Lions in Scooba and had just one question for him.
“How would you like to be roommates?” Campbell said he asked Bentley. “He goes, ‘let’s do it.’”
The smiles for both followed and on Wednesday, they signed with EMCC at the SHS library with family, friends, coaches and administration present to lend their support.
Bentley knew that Campbell was going to visit the Lions and was glad to hear that he had decided to join him in Scooba.
“He’s one of my brothers and to go down there to play a couple of years of baseball with him means a lot to me,” Bentley said.
Bentley moved to Starkville from Alabama for his freshman season with the Yellowjackets and Campbell was one of the first players to reach out to Bentley.
It didn’t take long for a bond to develop.
“I was one of the guys who got closer to him immediately,” Campbell said. “He is a true friend.”
Bentley and Campbell will continue that friendship at EMCC.
SHS baseball coach Travis Garner was pleased to be able to make a package deal for the Lions.

“I’m happy for both of them and proud for both of them,” Garner said. “They’ll do well down there.”

Bentley was a three-year starter for the Jackets and despite having surgery as a junior, he was able to reach All-District and All-State status.

He calls moving on to EMCC a dream come true.

“As a little kid growing up, you dream of being at a place like this and getting to go where you want to go,” Bentley said. “I was able to succeed with the players and coaches around me. Without Jesus and what He did in my life, I wouldn’t have the same drive as I would anywhere else. I’m thankful for this opportunity and what it means for me and my family.”

Bentley was a second baseman at SHS, but he doesn’t know if that will be the case yet with the Lions. His bat is what EMCC liked the most, so he plans to build off of that.

“I think defense is going to take care of itself and they will put me in the lineup where I need to be,” Bentley said. “I’m excited to play any role I need to be.”

Campbell made an impact with the Jackets on the mound immediately.

As a freshman, Garner put Campbell on the mound as a starter for a first round Class 6A matchup against Grenada and he won.

The trust that Garner had in him is something Campbell will never forget.

“(Garner) gave me an opportunity as a freshman and I never took it for granted,” Campbell said. “He stuck me on the mound in a playoff game against Grenada and I had one of the best games of my career. From that moment, I took it and ran with it. I continued to be the best player I could be. I pitched a lot of games in my four years.”

Campbell is “overwhelmed” about the chance to become a Lion and also called it “a blessing.”.

“I’m truly thankful and without God, none of this will be possible,” Campbell said. “Without the support of my family and my teammates, none of this would be possible.”

EMCC coaches have indicated to Campbell that he will get the chance to be on the mound and that was music to his ears.

Campbell wants and loves to pitch because he wants the responsibility on his shoulders.

“I love to take control of the game and on the mound, I control the game,” Campbell said. “I really like that. I’m ready to go to work and get bigger and stronger and let’s see what we can do.”

Bentley and Campbell were two members of a strong senior class for Garner at SHS.

Garner has often said it was just natural to be able to write the names of Bentley and Campbell on the lineup card every day and it will be strange not to be able to do that next year.

“Those two guys have done a lot and will be big shoes to fill for sure,” Garner said.

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