File Photo by Robert Smith
By Robert Wilson
Madison Central High alumnus and former high school baseball All-American Braden Montgomery has been named the Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Year.
Montgomery – last year’s Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Player the Year and Mississippi Gatorade Player the Year – is playing outfield and pitching in relief this season for Stanford, which won the Pac-12 regular season title and is ranked No. 3 nationally by DI Baseball.
Montgomery, who starts in right field, is hitting .296 with 38 runs scored, 15 doubles, 1 triple, 15 home runs and 45 runs batted in this season. He also has six assists. He has 14 pitching appearances with two saves and 25 strikeouts in 17 innings, a 5.29 earned run average and limiting opponents to a .183 batting average.
Montgomery is a semifinalist for the 2022 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year. He made his collegiate debut in the first game of the season by striking out two for his first save in a 1-0 victory over Cal-State Fullerton and made his debut in the outfield on February 20 and went 3 for 5 with 2 home runs, 6 RBIs and 3 runs scored. Montgomery was the first Stanford freshman with a multi-home run game since 2012. He hit safely in eight straight games from March 20-April 3. Montgomery hit .462 (6 of 13) with 3 home runs, 1 double, 3 runs scored and nine RBI in a three-game series sweep of Arizona State. He has hit three home runs with seven RBIs in his last five games entering the Pac 12 Tournament.
Montgomery and No. 1 seed Stanford, 37-14, meets No. 8 seed Arizona State today in a first-round game in the Pac-12 Tournament at Scottsdale, Ariz.
“We are all proud of Braden and the numbers he has put up this season,” Madison Central coach Patrick Robey said. “It is no surprise. He has definitely earned his success by having a consistent work ethic. Braden has always done what needs to be done to be successful in the classroom and certainly on the field.”
Montgomery hit .479 and an 9-0 record with a 0.74 earned run average and led Madison Central to a 34-2 record, the 6A state title and a No. 1 national ranking by Baseball America last season as a senior.
He had 46 hits in 96 at-bats, two hits short of hitting an even .500, with 30 runs, 50 runs batted in, 7 doubles, 5 triples, 7 home runs, a .590 on base percentage and a .875 slugging percentage. He had a .935 fielding percentage and made only two errors this season. Montgomery allowed only 17 hits – only two extra base hits (one double and one home run) – and had 116 strikeouts and 27 walks in 56 2/3 innings. Opponents had a .108 batting average against him.
Montgomery showed his dominance in the state championship series against Northwest Rankin, allowing only one hit with 15 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings in a 3-2 victory in Game 1. He did not allow a hit until two out in the sixth inning.