• Atlanta Northcutt

Pioneers awarded for academic excellence

Updated: Aug 11

By: James Clark -- Editor for the Southern Standard


Members of the senior class of the 2020 WCHS baseball team finally got to have their Senior Night on Sunday at Patrick Ramsey Baseball Complex. Members of the senior class are, from left, Justin Brantley, Jack Keele, Trace Adcock, Brennan Keeton, Will Rivers, Grant King and Heath Kuykendall.




It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize the Warren County High School baseball team is smart.


But if a brain surgeon is needed, the Pioneers might have one of those too.

The American Baseball Coaches Association has presented its Academic Excellence Award to teams for 2020 and Warren County was one of four recipients in Tennessee.


The Pioneer baseball team earned this distinction thanks to a team GPA of 3.86 and a senior class GPA of 4.16. All seven members of the Pioneer senior class plan to attend college, including two who want to become doctors.


Brennan Keeton and Justin Brantley both have dreams of becoming physicians with Keeton saying he’d like to become a brain surgeon. Grant King says he’d like a career in design architecture, while Heath Kuykendall would like to become a mechanical engineer.


“I’ve always placed a big emphasis on athletics and it’s great when we can send our kids off to play in college or even the pros,” said WCHS baseball coach Phillip King. “But at the end of the day, there’s going to be a time when they’re done playing baseball and they have to go out and get a job.”


King said his players certainly stepped to the plate when it came to academics last school year, but he stressed it takes a village to develop an atmosphere where students strive to succeed.


“We would like to thank the parents, the elementary, middle school and high school teachers and administrations, along with anyone else that may have helped to influence these young men to make it a priority to excel in the classroom with an equal amount of pride and hard work as they exhibit playing baseball,” said King.


The 4.16 GPA of the senior class is “a pretty high standard to set,” said coach King. “These kids have done well in the classroom. It would have been nice to have seen more of what they could do on the field.”


The Pioneers were only able to play four games before COVID-19 canceled school and the spring sports season in mid-March. But even in that short time the Pioneers were able to accumulate memories, including a combined no-hitter from Heath Kuykendall, Braden Bottoms and Westen Wilson.


In the season-opener, pitching ace Jack Keele struck out 13 batters.

Because the baseball season and school year were cut short, Warren County didn’t have a chance to honor its baseball seniors during their last home game. So coach King held a ceremony Sunday at Patrick Ramsey Baseball Complex.


The seven seniors and their parents were recognized on the field. After the ceremony, coach King threw batting practice to the seniors one last time and they were given the chance to run the bases following their last hit.

The senior class of the 2020 WCHS baseball team includes:


- Trace Adcock

Son of Stan and Glenna Adcock

MTSU for aviation

- Justin Brantley

Son of John and Deanna Brantley

MTSU for exercise science and physical therapy as he works toward career as a neurologist

- Jack Keele

Son of David Keele and Penny Keele

Trevecca, undecided


- Brennan Keeton

Son of Brent and Tiffany Keeton

ETSU for microbiology and

public health as he works toward career as a

brain surgeon

- Grant King

Son of Phillip and Ashley King

Tennessee Tech, design architecture

- Heath Kuykendall

Son of Mark and Libby Kuykendall

Tennessee Tech, mechanical engineering

- Will Rivers

Son of Bo and Rachel Rivers

Freed-Hardeman, undecided

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