So long purple and gold.
Nice to meet you, red and white.
Those are the new colors Columbus High School”s Nick Durrah will sport on the diamond the next two years.
Durrah, an outfielder/pitcher who helped the Falcons reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006 — and win a postseason game for the first time since 1994 — became the latest area player to sign with East Mississippi Community College, signing the paperwork Tuesday evening in the school cafeteria.
EMCC already has signed Heritage Academy”s Austin Braddock, Camp Pittman, and Tyler Farnham and Dillon Hawkins of New Hope High. They”re players Durrah has played against in recent years during the high school season or in summer leagues.
“It”s going to be fun because we”ve all built a friendship playing over the years,” Durrah said of the other area signees. “It”s going to be fun, all being together on one team.”
EMCC assistant coach Michael Wallace attended Durrah”s signing, and said Durrah”s new teammates are as excited as he is to add Durrah to the roster. EMCC is coming off a 16-27 season in which it earned its best record in the MACJC North Division (14-10) since 1998. The Lions also earned a playoff berth for the first time since 2004.
“You can tell he”s the one that when everybody is around him, they”re going to be smiling,” Wallace said. “He”s going to be a good teammate.”
Wallace said Durrah, who is 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, has the athletic ability to compete for a starting position in the outfield. He also will get a chance to continue pitching, where he is a left-hander.
This season, Durrah hit .343 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. He had seven doubles and three triples. Injuries limited his pitching appearances to seven games where he was 2-2.
“Nick”s overcome a lot of things,” Columbus High coach Jeff Cook said. “Maturity, he”s really developed there. I really see him blossoming and turning into a big-time prospect. I”m looking forward to seeing how well he”ll do once he”s in that full-time baseball environment in college.”
For Durrah, the best place to spend that time is in the outfield. It”s where he utilizes speed and grace to roam an area larger than a backyard to track down balls hit his way.
“l like to go get the ball and cover ground,” he said. “I love trying to throw people out. Love baserunners, trying to throw them out.”
Durrah said he is undecided on a major. His options will include his interests of computers and science.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.