Caleb Phillips has signed up to continue his baseball career at Murray State College.
The 2014 Calera grad played first base for the Bulldogs. He turned in a team-leading .429 batting average in his final season and posted a .571 slugging average. In his 91 trips to the plate, Phillips hit 29 singles, eight doubles, a triple and a home run. He also had 17 stolen bases and accounted for 36 scores. His fielding percentage was almost perfect at .983 through 31 games.
Phillips said high-school baseball made for the best four years of his life so far, capped by a trip to the state tournament this spring, and playing with a team that felt like family.
“Coach T is a good coach and a good guy,” he said, referring to Rickey Teafatiller. “He really helped a lot.
“And my mom hadn’t missed a game in four years. She made a lot of sacrifices to watch me play.”
That’s Crystal Phillips, who said she’s “super proud” of her son.
“Caleb is the hardest working kid I’ve ever seen,” she said. “He’s very driven.”
Although Phillips said he’d do anything to turn back the clock for another round of the CHS experience, he is looking toward the future, majoring in criminal justice in addition to extending his time on the diamond.
Phillips said he’s always wanted to play at the college level and also considered Grayson County College in Denison, Texas, and Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond. His ultimate decision was based on the recent winning reputation of the MSC baseball program under head coach Zach Crabtree. The Aggies won the National Junior College Athletics Association Division II championship in 2013 and made it to the Region 2 Tournament this spring.
“We’re glad to have Caleb,” Crabtree said. “We try to get the best local talent, and he’s coming from Coach T, who really teaches the fundamentals. They work hard and are coming off the first state tournament appearance in school history. They’ve got a good program.”
Crabtree said Phillips would get an opportunity to play first base at MSC, since that’s where he’s comfortable and has been successful, but he will be moved around a little.
“I think he will be an asset. You know, as long as you can hit, they’ll find a place to play you.”
Further down the road, Phillips said he wants to enter law enforcement and aspires to join the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.