Vernon commits to Martin Methodist College

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Marshall County senior Cody Vernon is flanked by his parents Scott and Sheila as he signs a letter of intent to attend Martin Methodist College in Pulaski next year on a baseball scholarship. Also attending in the back row from left, MCHS head coach Steve Reese, Athletic Director Kevin McGehee, Martin Methodist head coach Kelly Bratton, sister Kristen Vernon, and MCHS assistant coaches Robby Giles, "Monk" Reese and Mike Bailey. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

Cody Vernon, the powerful right-handed ace of the Marshall County High School Tigers, recently signed a letter of intent to attend Martin Methodist College in Pulaski next year on a baseball scholarship.

"I chose Martin Methodist because I can get a great education there, I like the coaching staff and it is close to home, so I don't have to worry abut being there by myself," said Vernon.

Vernon, who posted a 7-2 record on the mound for MCHS last season will join former Tigers Justin McQueen, Brandon Hollingsworth, Marcus Green and Ethan Chapman on the Red Hawk squad that went 23-21 in 2010.

"If they like it there, I will too," said Vernon. "They are my peers and they say it is a great school. I look up to them and I hold a lot to what they say."

Martin Methodist graduate and third-year Red Hawk head coach Kelly Bratton said about the Marshall County connection, "Marshall County has always had a good program back as far as I can remember. They always compete, they always have a lot of talent, and they are close to us, so we like to keep them here."

Opposing batters managed a measly .220 batting average off Vernon last year and the schoolbooks didn't stand much of a chance versus Vernon either as he sports an impressive 3.8 G.P.A. at MCHS.

"I want to study secondary education with a major in history," said Vernon, who would like to come back to Lewisburg one day to teach and coach at his alma mater.

Vernon struck out 51 batters in 46 innings for the Tigers in 2010 on a team that posted a 19-9-1 overall record and a third place District 12AA mark of 10-4.

Bratton said about signing Vernon, "Cody has the size, he is a hard thrower, and has a lot of potential. I watched him pitch last year as a junior and he showed some signs that told me I would really like to have him on our squad in the future."

"I think he could compete for a spot when he gets here next year," added Bratton. "I think he will fit in well with our pitching staff."

In 2010, the Tigers reached the title game of the district tournament, but lost to host Spring Hill 9-5 before being eliminated one week later by Camden Central in the first round of the Region 6AA Tournament.

Vernon's only two losses came in the Camden Central game and an early season 8-7 loss at Sam Davis Park in Pulaski.

"This takes a lot of pressure off of me next season," said Vernon. "I think we have a real good chance here this year, we have a great ball team. My class is all seniors this year and we got one thing in mind and that is getting to Murfreesboro."

Marshall County head coach Steve Reese said about the upcoming season and the team's chances, "Our goal when we start every year is to end the year in Murfreesboro. We have come up short here several years, but this year with the seniors coming back and the good nucleus of young kids, I think we can make some noise in the playoffs."

The Tigers have won state titles in 1983, 1993, and 1994, and have finished second four times in 1979, 1989, 1995, and 1999, but have not appeared at the Spring Fling since the 2006-2007 season.

Marshall County is now well over a hundred college signees in their storied history and Reese said about their success, "Well, it starts out at the Little League and Babe Ruth League complexes because over the years we have had a lot of people working with our young guys. Marshall County is a baseball county when it gets down to it. As soon as the weather breaks, people are out throwing a ball, whether it is a baseball or a softball.

Reese added, "By the time they get here, all we have to do is refine them. I think we have as good a baseball program as there is in the state."

Looking ahead, Vernon said about what he would like to accomplish at Martin Methodist, "I hope to play early there and help them get to where they want to be in a few years. I would like to get up in the ranks of the pitching staff and help lead them or be part of a championship there."