Jones County Junior College slipped out of the top spot in the new NJCAA Division II poll, replaced by LSU-Eunice, which beat the Bobcats 3-2 last week. Jones is 13-3. Rising on the chart was East Central CC, up to No. 5 from 10th in the previous poll. The 11-1 Warriors have won seven straight. Wyatt Ball has led the charge, batting .500 with two homers, 14 RBIs and 14 runs. George Farid is hitting .441, and Southern Miss signee Jacob Edwards is at .390 with 16 RBIs. On the bump, Delta State-bound Payton Griffin is 2-0 with a 2.93 ERA, and Kolby Crowley has a 0.84 in six appearances. Four other MACJC schools are ranked, though each slipped a bit from last week. Itawamba (12-2) is eighth, Hinds (11-2) 13th, Gulf Coast (16-2) 16th and Pearl River (9-3) 19th. Holmes, at 11-2, isn’t in the Top 20, nor is Copiah-Lincoln (10-2). Only two of the 15 teams in the league are under .500. Conference play, which starts this weekend, will sort a lot of this out.
Lance Lynn is slated to make his spring debut today with Minnesota, pitching against Baltimore in a Grapefruit League game. The Ole Miss product formally signed a one-year deal with the Twins on Monday. He is among several free agents inked by a Minnesota club which has its sights on a playoff berth in 2018. “People want to win and be part of a good atmosphere,” said ex-Southern Miss star Brian Dozier, the Twins’ best player (and a pending free agent). Lynn went 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA in 33 starts for St. Louis in 2017. With ace Ervin Santana currently out with a finger injury, Lynn is penciled in as the Twins’ No. 2 starter behind 23-year-old Jose Berrios. … Mississippi State alum Brandon Woodruff, vying for a spot as a starting pitcher for Milwaukee, also goes out today against Texas in the Cactus League. In three appearances, Woodruff has yielded five earned runs over 3 2/3 innings. He may be ticketed to start the season in the minors. … Former Petal High standout Anthony Alford, not expected to make Toronto’s opening day roster, is batting .323 after a 1-for-4 on Monday. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, the ex-Jackson Mets catcher, raved recently on MLB Network about the progress Alford has made since he began playing baseball fulltime in the fall of 2014. “The sky’s the limit,” Gibbons said. Alford will get another shot with the Jays sometime this season. … Mississippi State alum Chris Stratton appears on track to earn a spot in San Francisco’s rotation. The Tupelo native allowed two hits and one run with three strikeouts in four innings on Monday, cutting his spring ERA to 2.25. … Ex-Bulldogs star Hunter Renfroe has hit three homers for San Diego this spring but is batting just .216 with nine strikeouts in 37 at-bats. The team’s regular right fielder much of 2017, he isn’t currently projected to start. … Ole Miss product Alex Presley, in Baltimore’s camp on a minor league deal, has hit well (.323) but is probably a longshot to make the 25-man roster. … Ex-State standout Jonathan Holder has had a good spring with the New York Yankees, posting a 1.42 ERA in five appearances, but is far down the pecking order in the team’s stacked bullpen. USM product Cody Carroll, in New York’s camp as a non-roster invitee, has also impressed: 3-0, 1.80 ERA in four games. … Tony Sipp, the veteran out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, has a 7.71 ERA in five spring outings but likely will stick in Houston’s bullpen again, possibly as the lone left-hander. …Meanwhile, veteran big leaguers Seth Smith, Tyler Moore and Chris Coghlan remain unsigned.