By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
Southside High has a history of producing great baseball players who go on to play in college and in the pros.
Now you can add Drew Mullinax’s name to the list, after the Panther senior signed a letter-of-intent Thursday to play at the University of Montevallo.
As a pitcher/outfielder this season, Mullinax batted .357 with 46 hits, 29 runs, 32 RBI, eight doubles and 14 steals while striking out only 13 times. On the mound, he finished with a 1.23 earned run average with 60 strikeouts in 58.33 innings. Mullinax’s production helped the Panthers finished with a 34-10 record, a finals state ranking of No. 4, area and county championships and a berth in the Class 5A state quarterfinals.
Mullinax had a handful of choices but said that Montevallo felt like home.
“(Head) coach (Chandler) Rose and (pitching) coach (Erik) Maas made me feel comfortable,” Mullinax said. “Plus I enjoyed visiting their campus.”
The Falcons have a good baseball tradition, as well, appearing in their conference tournament on a regular basis.
There’s one more thing that drew Mullinax to Montevallo – former Southside pitcher Alex Pondick just completed his freshman year for the Falcons.
“I’m looking forward to being on the same team as Alex again,” Mullinax said. “He’s only a year ahead of me, so we’ll have some good times again.”
The Falcons finished the 2014 season with a 31-21 record and made it to the championship game of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament earlier this month.
Mullinax will be sorely missed at Southside.
“You can’t find a better kid,” Panther coach Blake Bone said. “In my 10 years of coaching high school ball, Drew is at the very top. He’s a natural leader, and if there’s a problem he’s upfront about it. There have been times when I didn’t have to coach out a problem – Drew did it for me.”
That doesn’t just pertain to baseball, either.
“Whatever Drew does in the future, he’ll be a success,” Southside principal Dr. Marguerite Early said. “He’s got the character and ability to do whatever he wants. I couldn’t ask for a better young man to be one of my students.”
Also a standout in basketball, Mullinax averaged 11.6 points per game last season while shooting 84 percent at the free throw line and 43 percent in three-pointers.