Seated at Pearson’s signing, from left, are: Jabara Pearson Sr (father), Jabara Pearson Jr, Bobbie Taylor (mother), Javana Pearson (sister) and Betty Webb (grandmother). [Lindsay Summerlin | Contributed ]

Pearson signs with Coastal Alabama

With his family seated beside him and his teammates behind him, Port St. Joe’s Jabara Pearson, Jr. signed a baseball scholarship with Coastal Alabama Community College, East Campus, on Wednesday, May 31, in the Tiger Shark gym. 

Located in Brewton, Alabama, CACC East is one of eight campuses making up the Coastal Alabama family. Other sites include Bay Minette, Fairhope, Gulf Shores, Jackson, and Monroeville. 

Formed in 2017 with the merging of Alabama Southern, Faulkner State, and Jefferson Davis Community College, Coastal Alabama is a member of the Alabama Community College System. 

A significant change occurred in April of this year when all of the Coastal Alabama campuses adopted the “Coyotes” as the official mascot. Prior to that, each campus had its own mascot, with CACC East being the WarHawks. 

In signing Pearson, who patrolled center field and batted leadoff for the Shark baseball teams his junior and senior years, “they get a quiet leader, someone who is dedicated to perfecting his craft,” said St. Joe baseball coach Ashley Summerlin. 

“Jabara is a reliable player who has worked just as hard off the field as he has worked on the field,” he said. “The best words I can use about him are perseverance and growth,” added Summerlin, “because he became a completely different player during the time I have worked with him.” 

A quick look at Pearson’s statistics confirms Summerlin’s conclusion. His sophomore year, Pearson collected a single hit in 16 official at bats while scoring five times and driving in one. His OPS (on base percentage and slugging) was a modest .062. 

Quite the transformation occurred between his sophomore and junior years. During the 2022 season, Pearson hit .324 in 25 games with 22 hits, scored 17 runs from his leadoff position and drove in 11. 

Among his hits, he hit four doubles and two triples. His impressive OPS of .859 led the team for players who had more than 10 plate appearances. 

Saving the best for last, Pearson’s senior season helped generate interest in his talents. 

In 26 games, he batted .359 with 28 hits, including seven doubles, a triple, and five home runs. His 27 runs led the team, and he increased his RBI total to 19, and he more than doubled his stolen base totals from seven his junior year to 16. 

Perhaps most impressively, Pearson boosted his OPS to 1.157. 

In addition to Pearson’s own work on the field causing queries from college coaches, Summerlin said that other high school coaches help spread the word about quality players. “We do everything we can to

help kids get recruited,” said Summerlin, who also lamented how the transfer portal has added difficulties in the recruiting process. 

Pearson, who also starred on the gridiron as a wide receiver and defensive back, will likely see plenty of action on the diamond his freshman year as a Coyote.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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