Press Box with Jake – Brandon Readies for State Championship Baseball Series with Hernando

BRANDON MS – May 20, 2024 – By Jake Wimberly

The Brandon Bulldogs are set for a three-game series with Hernando, to determine the 2024 7A baseball Championship for 2024.

Games will be at Trustmark Park in Pearl, also online at NFHS.com and on the radio on ESPN Radio, 105.9 the Zone.

I had a chance to catch up with Head Baseball Coach Daniel Best about his team and baseball, in this championship edition of the column. Also below is a state championship primer.

Q and A with Coach Best:

How long have you been at Brandon?

This is my 6th Season as Head Coach at Brandon.

Where were you prior to Brandon?

I played 4 years for the University of Southern Miss.2003-2006.
I was drafted in 2006 in the 14 th round by the Kansas City Royals. 2006-2008.
Assistant Coach 3 years at St. Patrick Catholic High School. (3A at the time) 2010-2012.
Head Middle School Coach and Assistant Varsity 3 years at Biloxi High School. 2013-2015.
Assistant Varsity Coach 1 year at Neville High School in LA 2016.
Assistant Coach at Vancleave High for 1 year 2017.
Head Coach at Vancleave High 1 year in 2018 (4A State Champs).
Head Coach at Brandon High School 2019-Present.

How would you describe the passion that Brandon and the community has for Baseball?

The Brandon Community is like no other when it comes to passion and support for this program. We have had unbelievable support and crowds every single year. I have coached and played at a lot of places, and nothing compares. I couldn’t be prouder to have the opportunity to take this group of young men to Trustmark Park and play for a state title. I know without a doubt Brandon fans will show up and show out for their Bulldogs.

Talk about this season and what makes this team different from some of the prior ones that got close, but not here.

We have had a lot of talented players over the last 6 years and that’s not to mention all the ones before I came to Brandon. If you have been around the game of baseball very long, you know that it’s not always the most talent that win. This team plays loose and has fun every time they step on the field. They have come together as one down the stretch after battling through ups and downs throughout the season. They are playing well at the right time, and I can’t wait to see them get after it against a very talented Hernando team.

How would you describe the passion for baseball in the state of Mississippi as a whole?

Mississippi is a baseball state. I was lucky enough to get to play college ball in this state for USM and see it first-hand. Year in and year out, Mississippi has 3 Division I teams that are competing as some of the top programs in the country. Not only D1 but JUCO baseball in MS is the best in the country, multiple teams in the top 10 in the country year in and year out. Why would you want to play anywhere else?

Do you do anything differently to prepare for a series like this?

No, you keep working on the things that got you here. You take the time get everyone healthy and ready to go. It’s business as usual.

What is your message to your team heading into the championship series?

You’re not supposed to be here…. No one gave us a shot, then you were 1 win away from a district title, then you got the 1 seed from the coast in the second round and people still thought you would be lucky to advance. You advance to South State to face NWR…and again you were not picked to advance, and again you found a way to survive. Now you are playing for a state title and guess what…. yep, you’re right, you are supposed to lose. Great, who cares, we are still playing, and the pressure isn’t on you because again you aren’t supposed to be here, but you are, so we might as well have a little fun while we are here.

How important has this group of seniors been for this club?

We have a great group of seniors that have all bought in and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team. I am proud of every single one of them and the work and the commitment they have given this program.

What would you say is the biggest challenge to getting to a series like this?

Getting everyone on the same page. Teams that buy in and play for each other have a lot of success and are hard to put away.

Championship Primer:

HERNANDO vs. BRANDON

Game 1: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Game 2: Thursday, 7 p.m.


Hernando Tigers Baseball 2024

Hernando Tigers at a Glance

Head Coach: Taylor Karr
Record: 26-6.
How they got here: def. Tupelo 2-0 (13-6, 14-3); def. Lewisburg 2-1 (2-7, 8-5, 3-2); def. Oxford 2-0 (2-1, 1-0).
State Championships: None.
State Championship Appearances: 2012, 1992, 1966.
Players to Watch: INF/P Topher Jones (Mississippi State signee); P Thomas Mitchell (Ole Miss signee); INF/P Luke Romine (Ole Miss commit); OF/P Meyer Maddox (Northwest CC signee); C Hallas Lawson (Northwest CC signee); OF/P Tyler Sullivan (Northwest CC signee); OF/C Brody Martin (Jones CC signee).

Brandon Bulldog Baseball 2024

Brandon Bulldogs at a Glance

Head Coach: Daniel Best
Record: 23-12.
How they got here: def. Biloxi 2-1 (7-3, 1-5, 10-0); def. Ocean Springs 2-0 (6-1, 6-3); def. Northwest Rankin 2-0 (6-3, 10-6).
State Championships: 1967.
State Championship Appearances: 1967.
Players to Watch: INF/P Walker Hooks (Ole Miss signee); OF/P Jay McQueen (Southern Miss commit); INF Keith Forbes (Meridian CC commit); INF/DH Xavier Myles (Holmes CC signee); OF Cam Keyes (Jones College signee).

Brandon Bulldog Baseball Blackout 2024 State Title Game
Mississippi 7A High School Baseball State Title Schedule

Until next time, I’ll be bunkered down in the studio or pressbox.

Feel free to ask any questions for future articles – hit me up on X –  @ Jakewim

Until next time. #BOE

Jake Wimberly’s Bio on Brandon042