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Sequatchie County's Dakota Hudson winds to pitch at Notre Dame in this file photo.

Sequatchie County baseball pitcher Dakota Hudson has committed to Mississippi State as a junior.

"I feel like a new person," the 6-foot-5, 195-pound right-hander said. "I feel more relaxed about school. I can just go out now and work harder."

He finished the season with a deceptive 4-3 record. He had 75 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 47 innings, and he had a 1.20 earned run average and three saves.

"I think the most hits he gave up in any game were four," Indians coach Aaron Simmons said, "and the Signal Mountain loss was the only bad game. He couldn't get ahead of the hitters in that."

In his last performance, Hudson struck out 15 in a 3-2 District 7-AA tournament win over Chattanooga Christian. He had two one-hitters and two two-hitters this season.

"I remember one of those two-hitters we made nine errors and got beat," Simmons said.

Hudson, who also plays basketball, plays center field or first base when he isn't pitching and hit .492 with five triples, 16 doubles, nine stolen bases and 41 RBIs.

Mississippi State was pressing for an answer, and Hudson said he understood. He felt the impressions he'd made in three unofficial visits were solid.

"Arms are the first thing a lot of colleges recruit," he said. "I knew they were a big baseball school, and I was really impressed with the way their coaches interacted with the players."

Hudson apparently committed before a bevy of offers began rolling in. Kennesaw State had made an offer and he'd had a couple of calls from Tennessee and had received correspondence from Kentucky.

"He could have waited, but going to Mississippi State is something he wants," Simmons said. "I think he's one of their top recruits, and they're getting a good one. Dakota is a hard worker -- he has one of the best work ethics of any kid I've been around. And he's a competitor."

Hudson has a 3.7 grade point average and already has passed the ACT. He'll continue to play summer ball with the Chattanooga Cyclones.

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