29 Feb

keeping track

Mississippi College’s dormant offense awoke on Tuesday, putting up 15 hits and a season-high 16 runs in a wild win over Millsaps. The Choctaws’ 16-10 victory squared the Maloney Trophy Series; all three schools (Belhaven included) are now 1-1. Every MC starter had at least one hit and six had two. Spencer Brunson belted his second homer of the year, and Jeremy Simmons drove in three runs. … Hinds Community College’s Beau Wallace, a sophomore from Vicksburg, had a six-hit day on Monday as the Eagles swept a pair of games from Panola (Texas) CC in Ruston, La. The 8-2 Eagles will play Northeast, which swept second-ranked Jones County last weekend, on Thursday. … The Mid-Mississippi Baseball Classic, featuring 18 top high school teams from the Magnolia State and Alabama, is slated to begin Thursday and run through Saturday. Five sites in the Jackson metro area are being used: Northwest Rankin, Brandon, Pearl, Madison Central and Jackson Academy. In addition to those schools, Terry, Clinton, Warren Central, Vicksburg, Brookhaven, Pascagoula and North Pike are participating. A full schedule can be found at www.northwestrankinbaseball.com.

27 Feb

now playing third …

Joe Terdoslavich, a strong candidate to make the Mississippi Braves’ roster this spring, is working out at third base as a non-roster invitee in Atlanta’s camp. The switch-hitting slugger, rated the top power hitter in the Braves’ minor league system by Baseball America, apparently will move from first base to third this season. “It’s not tough,” he told mlb.com. “I’ve played it my whole life. Third base is like hitting. It’s a reaction position.” Terdoslavich played third in high school and again at Long Beach State before Atlanta drafted him in the sixth round in 2010. He played primarly outfield during a season at Miami (Fla.) in 2008 and was a first baseman last season at Class A Lynchburg. Terdoslavich batted .286 with 20 homers and a Carolina League-record 52 doubles in his first full pro season. He isn’t rated among the Braves’ Top 10 prospects but certainly will be a player to watch this season in Pearl.

26 Feb

quick pitches

Just some eye-opening numbers from the college season: Mississippi State, off to a 6-1 start (every game in Starkville), has a staff ERA of 1.88. … Southern Miss, 4-3 after taking two of three from Troy this weekend, has a staff ERA of 1.65. … Golden Eagles freshman Mason Robbins, Mr. Baseball last season at George County, is hitting .417. … Alex Yarbrough is off to a .385 start for Ole Miss, 5-1 after a weekend sweep of UNC-Wilmington. … Delta State is 8-1 (the only defeat coming at the hands of NCAA Division II No. 1 Tampa on Saturday) and is averaging 11.3 runs per game. … Anthony Doss is hitting .413 with 19 runs and 15 RBIs for 14-5 Belhaven, which won two of three at Truett-McConnell in Southern States Athletic Conference play this weekend. … Slow-starting Mississippi College won two of three from Hardin-Simmons to reach 4-6; the Choctaws’ top four pitchers have ERAs under 2.50. … Will Edwards, an East Mississippi Community College transfer, is 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA for Millsaps, which is 8-2. … William Carey (7-7) has gotten 15 RBIs from Mitch Bohon, a junior from West Point. … Charles Epperson was 4-for-14 with six RBIs for Jackson State (3-4) in a four-game series at Morehead State; five of his RBIs came in the only game JSU won, a 16-0 romp on Saturday. … Jones County Junior College, ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA preseason poll, was swept in a doubleheader at home by Northeast CC on Saturday. The Bobcats are 6-4.

25 Feb

totally random, vol. 2.9

Today’s subject: Bob Didier. The Hattiesburg native reached the major leagues in 1969 at the age of 20, helping the Atlanta Braves win the National League West as their regular catcher. Didier, a switch-hitter who was drafted in the fourth round by the Braves in 1967, batted .256, drove in 32 runs and scored 30 in 114 games as a rookie. But whatever he had that year, he quickly lost. He batted just .149 in 1970 and .219 in 1971 as first Hal King and then Earl Williams displaced him behind the plate. Didier wound up moving to Detroit in 1973 and then finishing his career with Boston in ’74. Final batting average: .229. He never homered in the majors. He spent many years as a manager in the minor leagues.
P.S. Tyler Pastornicky was the 58th Mississippi Braves alumnus to rise to the major leagues, though he did not play a game in Atlanta last season. He figures to be the starting shortstop on opening day, however. Who’ll be the next M-Braves alum to make The Show? Watch out for Gorkys Hernandez and Paul Clemens. Hernandez, who played a splendid center field and hit .310 for the 2009 M-Braves, is on Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster and will vie for a job this spring. Clemens, among the plethora of strong arms that passed through Pearl last summer, is on Houston’s 40-man. The rebuilding Astros might have a spot for him very soon. … Two of Ole Miss’ prep recruits for 2013 made Baseball America’s preseason All-America first team: catcher Stryker Trahan from Lafayette, La., and infielder Gavin Cecchini from Lake Charles, La. A third Rebels recruit, right-hander Ty Hensley of Edmond, Okla., was a second-team pick. The only Mississippian on the chart is Petal outfielder Anthony Alford, a Southern Miss signee who made the BA third team.

24 Feb

choctaws on spot

The season is so young and, yet, there is an important series this weekend in Clinton. Mississippi College, off to a sluggish start, faces Hardin-Simmons in a three-game set (twinbill today, single game Saturday) at Frierson Field. The Choctaws are 2-5. They’re hitting .235 with no home runs. The staff ERA is 4.78. They’ve made 16 errors, eight by third baseman Spencer Brunson, one of the team’s best players. “Weird” is how Brian Owens describes it. “We’ve been totally different in games than in practices.” There are a lot of new faces on this club, with very few remaining from the one that won a school-record 39 games in 2010. MC was nationally ranked in NCAA Division III in preseason in 2011 but started slow and wound up 24-18. Owens thinks this team can improve on that win total. He has a lot of experienced pitchers on hand, which could be key. “One or two games can get it turned around,” Owens said. Maybe it’ll happen this weekend.

23 Feb

the list

Here is the list of Mississippians (natives or college alums) in major league camps — officially — this spring.

40-man roster members
Position players
Julio Borbon (Starkville), Texas; Chris Coghlan (Ole Miss), Miami; Zack Cozart (Ole Miss), Cincinnati; Jarrod Dyson (Southwest CC), Kansas City; Desmond Jennings (Itawamba CC), Tampa Bay; Tyler Moore (Mississippi State), Washington; Mitch Moreland (MSU), Texas; Alex Presley (Ole Miss), Pittsburgh; Seth Smith (Ole Miss), Oakland; Craig Tatum (MSU), Arizona; Eli Whiteside (Delta State), San Francisco
Robert Carson (Hattiesburg), New York Mets; Louis Coleman (Schlater/Pillow Academy), Kansas City; Tim Dillard (Itawamba CC), Milwaukee; Cliff Lee (Meridian CC), Philadelphia; Lance Lynn (Ole Miss), St. Louis; Paul Maholm (MSU), Chicago Cubs; Matt Maloney (Ole Miss), Minnesota; Jonathan Papelbon (MSU), Philadelphia; Drew Pomeranz (Ole Miss), Colorado; Tony Sipp (Gulf Coast CC), Cleveland; Donnie Veal (Jackson), Chicago White Sox

Non-roster invitees
Position players
Brian Dozier (USM), Minnesota; Ed Easley (MSU), Arizona; Bill Hall (Nettleton), New York Yankees; Jarrett Hoffpauir (Southern Miss), Washington; Fred Lewis (Gulf Coast CC), Cleveland; Edwin Maysonet (DSU), Milwaukee; Paul Phillips (Meridian CC), Milwaukee; Matt Tolbert (Ole Miss), Chicago Cubs
Dusty Hughes (DSU), Atlanta

As yet unsigned
Roy Oswalt (Holmes CC)

20 Feb

totally random, vol. 2.8

Today’s subject: Kevin Rogers. The left-hander from Cleveland and Mississippi Delta Community College posted a 3.17 career ERA in the majors. Unfortunately, his career lasted just 79 games over three seasons. He was a ninth-round pick by the San Francisco Giants out of MDCC in 1988, passed through Jackson and Smith-Wills Stadium as a Shreveport Captain in 1991 and made his major league debut in 1992. Rogers was undone in 1994 by a blod clot in his arm; he had rung up a 2.63 ERA in 64 games for San Francisco in 1993 and looked to be a fixture in the big leagues. But he missed most of the ’94 and ’95 seasons, and his attempted comebacks finally ended in 1998. What a shame.
P.S. Don’t be surprised if Blue Mountain, in its second season, improves on the 16-35 (4-20 TranSouth Conference) record it finished with in 2011. Coach Curt Fowler has the Toppers on the right path. With Seth Kennedy (.353 last season) and Gardner Richey (a transfer from Division I Samford) in the lineup, BMC will hit. … Noticed that former Jackson Generals ace Scott Elarton is in Philadelphia’s camp as a non-roster invitee. He is one of a handful of ex-Gens still playing: Lance Berkman, Bobby Abreu, Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen, Julio Lugo and Raul Chavez are the others. Ramon Castro played in 2011 but is unsigned. Melvin Mora retired during last season.