By Robert Wilson

Photo by Brad Bridges

       Germantown’s Chris Peden has been coaching baseball for 22 years but has had few offensive performances against one of his teams like last week’s by Northwest Rankin’s Deuce Jenkins.

       Jenkins – a freshman outfielder-first baseman and son of former Mississippi State All-SEC wide receiver Justin Jenkins – had four hits (two home runs, a triple, and a double), scored two runs and had six runs batted in in a 12-8 loss to Germantown.

       The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Jenkins finished the week with a .667 batting average (6 for 9), with 3 home runs, 1 triple, 1 double, 5 runs scored and 8 RBIs in three games.

       For his outstanding performance, Jenkins has been named the PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Baseball Player of the Week.

       Not only did Jenkins have a big offensive night at the plate against Germantown, but he did also most of it against Germantown senior right-hander and Tulane signee Drew Harrison, one of the top pitchers in Mississippi.

       “A lot of freshmen would have been mentally outmatched knowing they were facing a Tulane commit,” said Northwest Rankin coach KK Aldridge, who is in his fourth season as head coach after taking over for longtime NWR coach Jeff McClaskey. “Deuce just had his normal approach. After his first RBI double in the first inning, he fell behind 1-2 in the count and fouled off about four pitches before finally getting a pitch that he drove just left of the centerfield wall. He has explosive power. 

       “The thing that speaks volumes about Deuce is the fact that in the day and age of the bat flip, when he hit his two home runs that night, he just drops his bat and gets on around the bases. He has that I’ve done that before and am going to do this many more times type of approach. It’s really refreshing to see as a coach. Deuce is a tremendously talented young player, but he doesn’t let that talent go to his head. He always plays the game the right way.”

       “He (Jenkins) wore us out. It was an unbelievable performance, not to mention he is a freshman,” said Peden, who was an assistant at Seminary (three years), Sumrall (one year) and Madison Central (eight years), and head coach at Magee (one year), Mendenhall (one year) and Ridgeland (six years) before coming to Germantown two years ago. “He had some really good swings against high level guys. Also, he is just so physical for a ninth grader. He is definitely one of the best young players in the state.”

       “Early on in the year, I think Deuce was pressing a little bit, and trying too hard to do too much instead of letting the game just come to him,” Aldridge said. “ Throughout the course of the year, he has developed into the player that we knew he could be. You saw that culminate in the game against Germantown.

       “We are grateful he is going to be around for several more years. We look forward to watching him reach his full potential. He deserves all the attention he is getting.”

       In addition to his game against Germantown, Jenkins had three hits, scored two runs, had three RBIs and a home run in two 13-2 wins over Meridian last week.

       Jenkins – who swings and throws left-handed – has a .457 batting average, a .486 on base percentage, a .914 slugging percentage, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 11 RBIs, 9 runs in 15 games this season entering this week. 

       He is ranked No. 7 in Mississippi in the Class of 2027 by Perfect Game.

       “Deuce was playing in the junior varsity games through the first portion of the season,” Aldridge said. “We have a talented roster, and I had players that were performing better than him at the time. Once Deuce started playing to his capabilities and found his swing, he has come in and ran with it.”

       Jenkins is the first baseball player at Northwest Rankin to start as a freshman since Lance Tolbert in 1990.

       Jenkins is the son of Justin and Anita Jenkins. Justin played football at Pearl High and MSU. Anita graduated from Harrison Central High and MSU. Jenkins has a younger sister, Jade, who is in the seventh grade and plays softball at Northwest Rankin.

       Northwest Rankin plays Brandon Friday at 7 p.m. at Brandon.

    Mississippi Scoreboard selects a baseball player from Hinds, Madison, or Rankin counties each week. Coaches can nominate a player by text or call to Robert Wilson at 601.506.2276. 


Week One: Drew Harrison, Germantown
Week Two: Konnor Griffin, Jackson Prep

Week Three: Parker Ishee, Ridgeland
Week Four: Peyton Puckett, Jackson Prep

Week Five: Chase Russell, Madison Central