Talk about capping off your high school career in style. Roughly a month after the Bryant Hornets won their third 7A State Championship in the past five seasons, former Hornets shortstop Trevor Ezell was honored with the Gatorade Player of the Year award on Monday at Bishop Park in Bryant.
“It is kind of hard to believe,” Ezell said. “It is a great honor. I’ve been playing with and against some of the greatest kids in the state, so to be named that really feels special. It is definitely humbling for me.”
“Not only is it fantastic for Trevor, it is fantastic for us as a community and a school,” Bryant Coach Kirk Bock said of the award. “Trevor worked extremely hard and represented us in a way that you want to be represented. He did it on the field and off the field. Not only is it an award to him, it is an award to us as a school and community.”
Batting leadoff all season, Ezell led the 2014 28-2 Hornets in just about every offensive category batting .524 with six home runs, 12 doubles, nine triples and added 17 stolen bases. Ezell also led the team in runs (47) and RBI (39). Ezell was the starting shortstop as a sophomore during the Hornets’ championship run in 2012, and again this past season.
“It feels like I’m on top of the world,” Ezell said. “That was our goal coming into the season. Winning a national championship is what we would really like to win, but a state championship is also at the top. To go out like that with my group of seniors, my eight guys, is a great feeling.”
“Trevor has made the guys around him better and also the guys beneath him better so now they know how to play the game,” Bock said of Ezell’s influence. “I think we will have a guy step right in defensively and do well. He learned a lot from Trevor last year. Trevor, when he was a ninth-grader, was not a starter for us on that ninth-grade team. But he persevered and worked hard and became a starter for us his sophomore year.”
Ezell said he doesn’t regret the hard work he’s put in to earn POY honors.
“It feels like all of hard work was worth it,” he said. “You get up sometimes for practice at 6 o’clock and think wow, you really don’t want to get up. But at the end of the day coming away with a state championship and the way it has put me in my present time, I really feel like I am prepared and going on the right path in my college future.”
And that college future will be with the Southeast Missouri Redhawks, a Division I program, which are no strangers to winning championships. Ezell should fit right in with the Redhawks, which ran away with the Ohio Valley Conference Championship sporting a 23-7 conference record and 37-20 overall.
“It shows them an example of someone that has reached the height of his career and is doing it the right way,” Bock said of Ezell’s accomplishments. “There’s many ways to get to the top, but very few take the same path that Trevor took and he is being rewarded for it.
“Our community is very proud of our baseball program, as we are of the community. The program starts in the sixth grade and works its way up. Trevor has learned that since he was 6-years-old on up. It wasn’t just his high school coaches, it was his youth coaches that got him on the right path and they are leading other young men just like Trevor on that same path.”