Firebirds’ Mizzelle gets chance at Lenoir Community College
Southern Nash High senior Trey Mizzelle, center, signs to play baseball at Lenoir Community College as he's flanked by his parents, Tracy and Sharon Mizzelle of Middlesex, during a signing ceremony at Southern Nash on June 7.
When the door opened for Trey Mizzelle, the recent Southern Nash High graduate walked through it.
While playing showcase baseball with the Dirtbags last fall, the 5-foot-10, 145-pound right-hander was approached by the opposing team’s head coach, Gary Smith, who happened to be the head coach at Lenoir Community College.
“We talked to each other and he said, ‘Come to Lenoir and play,’” Mizzelle said in a condensed version of events.
The offer to play for the Lancers of the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region X came on a visit to the Kinston campus in January. Mizzelle said he was offered a roster spot at William Peace University of the NCAA Division III ranks, but LCC was his preference.
“It’s closer to home, and I really liked the campus and the coach,” he said.
The son of Sharon and Tracy Mizzelle of Middlesex, Mizzelle said he plans to major in business administration at LCC and then to transfer to a four-year institution and, hopefully, keep playing baseball.
“Trey’s a great kid, has worked really hard and has been one of our best pitchers realistically the last two or three years,” Southern Nash head coach Todd Brewer said. “So I think he’s got a chance to go to Lenoir and be successful. I think it’s a good fit for him. I think if he can get there and work hard and get an opportunity to get some playing time, I think he can have a really good time.”
Mizzelle pitched in 14 games as a sophomore in 2019, more than his combined total the past two seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He finished his Firebirds varsity career with a 6-3 mark, a 2.85 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 68 ⅔ innings pitched.
Armed with a standard four-pitch repertoire, Mizzelle said he’s topped out at 86 mph on his fastball.
“He’s guy who definitely can change speeds,” Brewer said. “Got a good fastball, got good movement. Does a good job hitting spots. As long as he can mix things up and keep guys off balance, that’s won a bunch of ballgames for us.”
Mizzelle, who is not playing on a team this summer, said he just needs to work on taking care of his arm and his body as he transitions to the collegiate level. He was an invaluable part of the Southern Nash pitching staff the past three seasons and now Mizzelle is hoping to become just as valuable to the Lancers, who were 13-26 overall and 8-21 in Region X Division II this past spring.
“He says very few words, just goes about his business and for the most part, he gave us a chance to win pretty much every time we gave him the ball,” Brewer said.
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