Golden boys

 Dustin Dickerson leads a victory lap around the gym with the state championship trophy during a presentation ceremony in front of the student body at West Jones on Monday morning. Behind him are Cade Mauldin, Adam Bassett and Kris Riley. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

Mustangs take victory lap after winning state title

Dustin Dickerson is what coaches would call a “heady leader” on the field for the West Jones Mustangs.

In the Mustangs’ perfect 8-0 run in the postseason, he pitched four dominant wins, played flawless in the field at shortstop and delivered the biggest hits in the first and last games. But before the playoffs, he got the team to do something that could be considered a game-changer — he got them to dye their hair.

“I’ve seen other teams do it before and I thought it would be a good thing for us to do,” he said.

It must’ve worked. The guys with the golden locks were hoisting the Class 5A golden-glove state championship trophy at the end of the season. 

For the students, teachers and fans who couldn’t be at Trustmark Park in Pearl last Thursday night, West Jones hosted a short trophy-presentation ceremony in the gym on Monday morning. Dickerson led a victory lap around the gym, holding up the trophy for the students and fans who had gathered there.

“Never in 54 years has a baseball team at West Jones won a state championship,” WJ Principal Cooper Pope said.

That was still sinking in with coach Trey Sutton and many other school officials and fans.

He told the audience how he came to West Jones in eighth grade and dreamed of winning a state championship, and how he and so many others came close, but didn’t get it done.

“There have been so many teams here that were dreaming of this that were good enough, in baseball and football, and they got so close, but they weren’t able to accomplish this.

“This group of kids got it done,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion. “This was for everybody who came before them. Give it up for these guys, because they’re giving this to you.”

The 2019 WJ baseball team finished the season 29-5. They join the 1984 South Jones Braves and 1991 Laurel Golden Tornadoes as local teams to win state championships on the diamond.

They are also the first WJ boys’ team in one of the three traditional major sports to bring home a state title. The Lady Mustangs have won state championships in basketball and soccer.

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