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Wallace-Selma retires Simmons’ jersey

It was a great morning for Wallace Community College Selma athletics.

Not only did the Patriots baseball team rally for a 6-5 victory over Holmes Community College, but soon after the college retired the jersey of one of its all-time great athletes.

Kevin Simmons, who last June was the first Patriots' player taken in the MLB Draft, was honored and his No. 1 jersey was retired on the Patriots' baseball field Saturday.

"It's definitely an honor," Simmons said. "It's great to be the first person to ever be drafted straight from Wallace."

Simmons pitched for the Missoula Osprey last season, which are a minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. During the ceremony, it was announced that Simmons was voted most valuable pitcher for the Osprey.

Diamondbacks' scout Joe Mason, who was the first to discover Simmons, was on hand for the ceremony.

"I can remember one scout, it might have been Mr. Mason, who said, 'You may not coach another player like him," WCCS coach Frank Elliott said. "I've coached long enough and had other guys drafted, but they are a little bit different. Kevin, barring he doesn't get hurt, with his character and work ethic, he is the whole package. If he doesn't get hurt, he will make it to the big leagues."

Simmons jersey also hangs on the wall at the Dallas County High School gymnasium, which is where he graduated from.

He said he will report to spring training March 9 and will find out where he will be playing after that.

Simmons threw 47.1 innings last year for the Osprey in 18 games.

He had 43 strikeouts and posted an ERA of 3.61, which was the best of anybody on the team that threw over 20 innings.

Read more from Daniel Evans at: http://www.selmatimesjournal.com/2015/02/08/wccs-retires-simmons-jersey/#ixzz3RLqWe26j

Pictured: Wallace Community College Selma's Kevin Simmons, middle left, had his jersey retired by the school Saturday. WCCS president James Mitchell, left, holds a Simmons jersey that will be retired, while Arizona Diamondbacks scout Joe Mason and WCCS head baseball coach Frank Elliott help Simmons hold on to the jersey presented to him as part of the ceremony. WCCS athletic director Marcus Hannah is pictured far left. Simmons was named the most valuable pitcher of his minor league team last season, the Missoula Osprey, which are a minor league affiliate of the Diamondbacks.