Murray Hutchinson’s love for baseball led him to Jones and right back again despite a pandemic and an abnormal start to his college career.
For as long as Hutchinson can remember, the game of baseball has always been a part of his life.
“I started playing when I was 4 or 5, whenever I could pick up a bat,” said Hutchinson.
With supportive parents and two athletic younger siblings that provided healthy competition, Hutchinson decided at a young age to give his all to the sport. Although he was warming the bench for the first two seasons of his high school career at Madison Central, Hutchinson took that time to watch and learn from the sideline while also gaining motivation that would eventually lead him to Jones in the Fall of 2020.
However, Hutchinson, along with the rest of the world, didn’t anticipate a global pandemic that would deter his first season as a Bobcat after just 15 games.
“Right after the last game, we all checked our phones to see that schools had canceled, and all seasons had shut down. It was mind-blowing. Everything we worked for all Fall and the beginning of the Spring just came to an end,” said Hutchinson. “It kind of just ripped my heart out.”
After the team meeting that confirmed their fears of the season being canceled, Hutchinson, along with the rest of his teammates, packed their things and headed home with only half a season under their belt. When returning during the off-season, the abnormality didn’t cease as masks were worn during every workout. The team aspect had suddenly shifted to a limited number of groups.
“We had to wear masks everywhere, wear masks at practice. We couldn’t be together in a big group. We couldn’t even all be in the locker room together at the same time,” said Hutchinson. “But it was still better than being at home.”
The following Spring, Hutchinson would play his first full season as a Jones Bobcat before packing up once again and moving back home to attend Delta State University. However, Hutchinson’s time there would be short lived, lasting only one semester before he decided it wasn’t for him and that he would return to Jones once again for the 2022 season.
“This place felt like home to me. I knew that if I came back, they could get me back out there again,” said Hutchinson.
The coaching staff did, in fact, get Hutchinson back on the field. Hutchinson has had an outstanding season coming back as a Bobcat, but the 2022 season will be his last here at Jones.
“Murray is the epitome of a juco player. He plays the game the right way and shows up to the park ready to go. He is a leader on and off the field all the time and is exactly what you want in a player,” said Wesley Thigpen, the head coach of Jones’s baseball team.
Hutchison fully intends to follow through with his baseball career, playing wherever it takes him.
“In baseball there are going to be good things that happen and bad things that happen,” said Hutchinson. “You just have to stay even keeled, can’t get too high and can’t get too low.”
by Megan Matthews