EUNICE, La. – LSU Eunice baseball sophomore Jack Merrifield (Prairieville, LA, Dutchtown HS) has been named the 2021 National Defensive Player of the Year, the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) announced on Tuesday. Merrifield was named an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove recipient last week.
Merrifield is the fourth LSU Eunice baseball player to earn the defensive honor, joining Brennan Bozeman (2015), Jacob Fisher (2010) and Stuart Turner (2009).
“In many ways, Jack Merrifield is what you hope all of the young men that come through our program become,” LSU Eunice baseball head coach Jeff Willis said. “While Jack is certainly one of the best defenders in our program’s history, he is also at the top from an offensive, leadership and scholastic perspective. Jack personifies the ‘DDCS’ mantra.”
The Dutchtown HS product enjoyed a dominant season in the field. Merrifield held a sterling .987 fielding percentage, playing primarly second base in his 57 starts. He posted 105 putouts and 127 assists with just three errors on 235 chances. Merrifield also had a hand in 32 double plays.
In LSUE’s run towards a National Title, Merrifield shined on the defensive end. Merrifield was perfect from the field with no errors in 57 chances. He produced 20 putouts, 37 assists and was a part of nine double plays. He most notably made a backhanded diving catch against Phoenix to keep the Bears from taking the lead en route to LSUE’s 9-1 victory.
He was the lynchpin behind what is statistically the best defensive club in LSUE program history, fielding at an all-time best .970 fielding percentage as a team.
Merrifield added an outstanding performance at the plate during the 2021 campaign, pacing the Bengals in batting average (.396), hits (76), runs batted in (68) and total bases (109).
This continues an impressive award haul for the LSU commitment, earning All-Region, All-American and All-Louisiana honors in addition to his Gold Glove nomination.
This month, Merrifield helped guide LSU Eunice to its seventh NJCAA Division II National Championship. He was named to the All-Tournament Team after producing a game-high four hits in the deciding game against Western Oklahoma State, a 5-4 victory in 14 innings.