BULLARD – Two Bullard High School baseball players, and a twin-sister duo, are all going their separate ways after the quintet signed national letters-of-intent in three sports, on Tuesday morning, at the Bullard High School’s, Audrey Owens Auditorium.
Among family, friends, classmates and coaches, Mason Kelley inked to pitch for Louisiana Tech, and his new Panther teammate, Grant Walters, will pitch at Stephen F. Austin.
The Berry sisters, Erin and Emily will both head east.
Emily will run cross-country at Mississippi College in Clinton, MS.
Not quite so far away, Erin will take her 3-point prowess to the basketball court in Marshall, TX, at East Texas Baptist University.
Each signee was introduced by their respective coaches expressing personal notes, and attributes the seniors will take with them to the next level.
Mason Kelley - Louisiana Tech University – Baseball
A member of the district runner up Panthers baseball team, and playing for the well-known Texas Prospects select baseball program, Kelley has always has long been leaning in the Louisiana Tech direction.
“I went to several camps, and skill clinics that really helped me get a look at the baseball program, and it also gave them a chance to see me,” Kelley began. “The coaches are great, the campus is really nice, and they play in a really good conference that will all be fun to be a part of.”
Kelley was a vital cog in the Panthers 2018 season, earning first team, All-District honors on the mound while posting a stellar 1.49 ERA.
“Mason is usually a really quiet kid until he takes to the mound, and then he is a Bulldog that will battle you on every pitch, and we counted on him in some huge situations last season,” Bullard head baseball coach Brock Lemire said about Kelley.
Kelley entertained other offers from the likes of Arkansas State, Northwestern State, and others.
Louisiana Tech is a member of NCAA, Division I Conference USA.
Grant Walters – Stephen F. Austin University – Baseball
Walters has been on the Lumberjacks watch list since his freshman summer league season. One year later, Grant made the verbal commitment to Lumberjack head coach John Cardenas.
On Tuesday, Walters finalized the deal with his autograph.
“Coach Cardenas saw me pitch in a summer showcase tournament and was really the first coach to ever start talking about playing in college,” Walters said, “And I really love the campus down there, and there is a great opportunity to step in and help SFA build on what Coach Cardenas is building.”
An All-District, first-team outfielder for Jacksonville last year, Walters will bolster the Panthers hurling crew in 2020, and fill a few vacated outfield spots.
While sharing mound duties for Jacksonville (7-11; 4-8), the left-hander still posted good numbers in the 12 district games in 2019. In six appearances he compiled a 1-4 record, including 35 strikeouts, 28 walks, and 27 runs allowed.
“It’s great getting Grant back, and he will be an asset to the Lumberjacks program,” Coach Lemire said. “He has a great fastball, and backs that up with a good breaking ball, and he’s just a battler on the mound and at the plate.”
Emily Berry – Mississippi College – Cross-Country
Hard work, persistence and dedication all paid off for Emily Berry, signing to run cross-country for the Mississippi College Lady Choctaws.
The runaway 2019 District Champion, Emily won the district race in Gilmer by more than 30-seconds. She had a season best run with a 13:11.0 at the SFA Invitational, and a two-mile, 12:33.1 at the Tyler-Lee Classic to lead the Lady Panthers.
Bullard head Cross-Country coach, Shane Chambless had nothing but smiles and praise for his long-distance crusader.
“She will be a great asset and she makes everyone else in that program better,” Coach Chambless said. “She will push as long as she has got to push until she gets it done and, her Christian-based morals and her incredible work habits, it will be a great fit for the school and her both.”
Emily considered a few other schools but the school in Clinton made the decision a no-brainer. The oldest university in the state of Mississippi, the established academic excellence, and Christian-based surroundings made MC an easy pick for Emily.
“When I made my visit, I fell in live with the campus there is so much history, and the high academic standards made it really appealing,” Emily said, “and then the Christian atmosphere and curriculum they offer made me feel right at home.”
Erin Berry – East Texas Baptist University – Basketball
If not the top 3-point shooter in the state, Erin Berry is certainly the best 3-point shooter in East Texas.
Erin made an unbelievable 155, 3s last season to lead the Lady Panthers to a 31-8 record, and 11-1 district championship.
Bullard head coach Barry Gill recalled her special dribbling skills as a youngster growing up in the Bullard Little Dribblers program, and added her other skills that will continue to flourish for the Lady Tigers.
“Erin is just an awesome kid,” Coach Gill began “Her work ethic and her leadership will go a long way, but there is no quit in her.
“She has put in a lot of hours taking shot after shot, and her Dad has always been there rebounding and encouraging her, and know her parents will be making a lot of trips to Marshall,” Gill added.
Erin had considered Trinity University in San Antonio, and Austin College in Sherman.
After her trip to Marshall, she was sold her future was at ETBU.
“The campus is just awesome, and I really liked the coaches and what they had to say,” Erin said about her choice. “Getting to play at the next level is a dream come true, and I really appreciate Coach Gill, the coaches, and my teammates that have helped me live my dream.”