Pettus, JSU begin OVC tournament this week

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Demopolis has a great history of baseball, from its semi-pro days of the 1940s and ’50s to Andy Phillips, who currently plays for the New York Yankees’ Triple-A team, the Columbus (Ohio) Clippers.

Several Demopolis players have made their way to Division I universities, including 2002 Demopolis High School graduate Bret Pettus.

Pettus plays shortstop at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala., which joined the Ohio Valley Conference this season, and will be with his team this week at the OVC Championship Tournament, played May 26-29 in Paducah, Ky.

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Pettus, the son of Mark and Betty Pettus of Demopolis, has started in 36 of his team’s 53 games at shortstop. He finished the regular season with 24 hits, 20 runs and an on-base percentage of .353, but his sights aren’t set on the Major Leagues; they’re set on graduation and his future.

“I’m majoring in business management here at Jacksonville State,” he said. “I plan on going to Auburn to get a master’s degree in building science. Then, I get to decide what I want to do with my life!”

Pettus credits his DHS baseball coach, James Moody, with helping him get to Jacksonville State.

“He was a great mentor, really,” Pettus said. “He showed us a lot about how to play the game, but also how you should live your life. He did a great job

teaching us.

“My family also helped me. Since I was real young, I knew I wanted to play baseball. They showed me how I had to work hard to be successful and what it takes to be successful.”

Pettus spent his freshman year with JSU as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, so the school changed conferences before he had a chance to experience the A-Sun.

“It’s not a big difference to me, really,” he said. “Last year, I wasn’t very familiar with the A-Sun, and now, I’m learning about the OVC. Maybe by my senior year, I’ll be more accustomed to it, but for right now, it’s all new to me.”

His talents as a baseball player in Demopolis got Bret Pettus to an NCAA Division I university, and now he is using baseball as a means to earn a college degree. His coaching and instruction growing up in Demopolis will take him far, and with his can-do attitude and work ethic, his success is limited only by his dreams.