Photo by Anna Camp/Northwest Mississippi Community College athletics

While the world is in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, there was a silver lining for Northwest Mississippi Community College outfielder Brayland Skinner. Skinner will have the chance to play college baseball in the SEC, committing to Mississippi State as a redshirt sophomore.

Brayland, a first-team all-MACJC selection in 2019, sat out his freshman season and has now had his season end due to the Coronavirus shutdown of most college sports throughout America. That includes NJCAA competition.

Skinner’s journey to Starkville, especially in these times when we are craving any positive news, is a very welcome silver lining. It also serves a reminder that things can blossom even in manure.

“It’s definitely been a roller coaster of a ride,” Skinner said. “It’s been fun but a lot of hard work and I know it will only get tougher from here, and I am just going to work even harder.”

Presence at the Plate

Over the course of 55 games, Skinner drove in 23 runs, hitting for a .369 average in 2019, and a .321 average in the abbreviated 2020 season. Skinner showed great plate discipline, drawing 42 walks.

Skinner is also a threat on the basepaths. He stole 27 total bases over his two seasons, only being caught stealing four times — all in 2019.

While the Bulldogs are getting a good contact hitter, they also get an outfielder that is extremely clean. Skinner committed only two errors during his time at NMCC, both in 2019.

What Could Have Been

At the time of stoppage, NMCC was 14-1 overall and had won 11 games in a row. The Rangers were ranked eighth in the most recent NJCAA Division II poll.

With such a promising season ahead, Skinner, along with the rest of his team, is left wondering “what-if?”

“It’s been really tough, we worked really hard, every single one of us,” Skinner proclaimed. “We had a really good bond. I really wanted to see what we were made of when conference play started.”

It’s now onto Mississippi State for the Lake Cormorant, Miss. product and he has one focus.

“To go in there next year, work hard and compete for a starting spot.”