Gazebo Gazette

Mississippi Gulf Coast relief pitcher Justin Lockey has signed to continue his collegiate playing career at McPherson College in Kansas.

“I went on a visit there and got along with the coaches real well,” he said. “It really reminded me a lot of Perk. Small town, campus was nice. The field was great. It’s a new area for me.”

The right-hander from Long Beach went 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 26.2 innings as a freshman after sitting out 2018 because of injury. He didn’t allow an earned run in his final 12 appearances, striking out nine in 10.2 innings.

In 2020, Lockey had pitched 11.2 innings in four games with 11 strikeouts and a 5.40 ERA.

“He’s a third-year guy here, and he comes at hitters from that arm angle from the side,” Gulf Coast coach Wes Thigpen said. “He’s really effective and can get a lot of outs that way.”

Also nicknamed the Bulldogs, McPherson finished the abbreviated 2020 season 18-7. In 2019, the Bulldogs finished third in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference with a 36-15 overall record, best in program history.

Lockey will head to the next level as a different player and person than he was when he got to MGCCC.

“The biggest thing I learned at Gulf Coast was how to get myself out there,” he said. “In high school, I wasn’t really the most outgoing guy, but at Gulf Coast I really built my personality.”

Whitney Johnson, Mississippi Gulf Coast’s women’s basketball athletic forward, has signed to continue her collegiate career with NCAA Division I McNeese State.

“They really showed me they wanted me,” the sophomore from Gulfport said. “They really liked my athleticism, and I had other schools contacting me, but they always, every day, were on it. I felt like it was a good school, because it was kind of like Gulf Coast. Just a bigger D-I version.”

McNeese plays in the Southland Conference. The Cowgirls have lost most of their scoring and rebound from last year’s squad, which should give Johnson the opportunity to play right away.

Johnson averaged 4.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore, but her presence could be felt all over the court. She had a career-high 11 points in a loss at Jones in the next-to-last game of the regular season and tied her season-high in a Region 23 Tournament loss to Northwest with eight rebounds.

“Whitney is by far the most athletic player I’ve ever coached,” Gulf Coast coach Hope Adams said. “She’s has D-I athletic ability, and anytime a coach came into our gym that was very obvious. I think her best basketball is still ahead of her. McNeese State is getting a great player on and off the court.”

Johnson won Third Team NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete honors last year, as well as being named MACJC All-Academic.

“(Gulf Coast) really helped me with pushing through adversity, just showing me it’s not always going to go as you planned but you have to make the best of it,” she said. “We had all those injuries and people missing on the team, you just have to lock in and if you really want it, you can get it. I really appreciate y’all. It really helped me academically, too.”

For more information on MGCCC’s 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to