O Captain! Our Captain! Ole Miss senior Tim Elko earns SEC All-Tournament Honors
HOOVER, Ala. — The legend of Ole Miss captain Tim Elko continues to grow and defy all logical expectations. The Rebels’ designated hitter — who marched into Hoover on one ACL — leaves the SEC Tournament a member of the All-Tournament team.
Congratulations to the Captain! #RebsBSB Tim Elko has earned SEC All-Tournament honors for his play in Hoover!
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) May 30, 2021
National Hitter of the Month tears his ACL
Earlier this spring, Elko had just earned National Hitter of the Month honors from the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) before tearing his ACL on April 5. In the month of March, Elko went 28-for-66 (. 424) with 23 runs scored, seven doubles, nine home runs and 33 RBI.
And then came the injury. The heart and soul of the Ole Miss team needed surgery. Rebel Nation and his teammates were crushed for him, their captain.
But against all odds, Elko chose to postpone that surgery in hopes he could find a way to rehab enough so he could continue to be there for his team, a team who counts on him for not only his bat and his glove, but for his leadership and his influence.
Head coach Mike Bianco explained that if Elko’s swelling subsided enough, there was a small chance the senior could play if his pain was manageable.
All I can say is never bet against Tim Elko…in anything, ever.
Elko’s improbable return
The Lutz, Florida native worked hard to rehab his knee to get to the point where he could return. And on May 1, not even a month after the ACL injury, Elko improbably returned to the Ole Miss lineup as the team’s designated hitter. Just a week later, he even-more-improbably hit a home run in the Rebels’ road win over Texas A&M.
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) May 8, 2021
Elko in Hoover
In Hoover, Elko continued to, well, be Elko. He played in all five of the Rebels’ games and tallied 14 at bats, tying him for most at-bats with the others at his position.
He notched five hits, more than any other DH in the tourney, and finished with a .357 batting average, a .786 slugging percentage, and the highest on-base percentage of any DH in the tourney at .550.
He hit two home runs, more than any other designated hitter in Hoover. Only three other DHs hit a homer in the SEC tourney (Garrett Farquhar of Auburn, Wes Clarke of South Carolina, and Pete Derkay of Tennesse), and they each notched one.
Elko’s two home runs came in the Rebels’ 5-4 walk-off loss to Vandy (a loss Ole Miss would later avenge in the tournament), and he accounted for all the Red and Blue’s RBI in the game.
Tim Elko of @OleMissBSB tore his ACL on April 5. Since returning in May, he's recorded 3 HR and 7 RBI.
— ESPN (@espn) May 27, 2021
I DON'T BELIEVE WHAT WE ARE SEEING.
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) May 27, 2021
What’s next for Elko and the Rebels?
Regional Host selections will be named Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. The NCAA Live Selection show is set for Monday morning at 11:00 a.m. on ESPN2. The brackets will be revealed then, and we’ll find out definitively that the Rebels will play host to a Regional — where, we are convinced, the legend of Tim Elko will continue to grow!
Complete 2021 SEC All-Tournament Team
P: Kevin Kopps, Arkansas
P: Camden Sewell, Tennessee
C: Connor Pavolony, Tennessee
DH: Tim Elko, Ole Miss
1B: Luc Lipcius, Tennessee
2B: Max Ferguson, Tennessee
3B: Nathan Hickey, Florida
SS: Jalen Battles, Arkansas
OF: Jacob Young, Florida
OF: Sterlin Thompson, Florida
OF: Isaiah Thomas, Vanderbilt
Most Valuable Player: Jalen Battles, Arkansas
(Feature image credit: David Gray/UA Athletics)
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.