31 Jul

around the horn

Trade chatter has not distracted Lance Lynn. The Ole Miss product registered his fifth straight quality start for St. Louis on Sunday, going six innings to beat Arizona 3-2. “I told you guys all along, I’m not going anywhere,” Lynn said in an Associated Press story. “So, I’m not worried about anything.” Lynn, a pending free agent, is 9-6 on the season and now has 70 career MLB victories. Former Mississippi Braves outfielder Jose Martinez drove in all three Cardinals runs. … Ex-Southern Miss star Brian Dozier had a hot-and-cold kinda day for Minnesota. He led off the game at Oakland with his 17th homer – 23rd career leadoff blast – then struck out five times in the 12-inning loss. … Former Mississippi State standout Dakota Hudson made his first Triple-A start in the St. Louis system and yielded four runs in seven innings. He was 9-4, 2.53 ERA at Double-A Springfield. … Petal High product Anthony Alford went 3-for-5 with a home run for Double-A New Hampshire. It was his fourth homer of the year for the Fisher Cats, first in nine games since he returned to the team. Alford made his big league debut with Toronto in May but was injured and sent back to the minors. He is batting .312 in 42 games all told at New Hampshire. … Ex-State star Ryan Gridley, a 2017 draftee by Oakland, has a nine-game hitting streak in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League. He is batting .302. … The North Delta Dealers beat the Tallahatchie Rascals 7-6 to win the Cotton States League title in New Albany. Beau Simpson drove in three runs and Delta State’s Sam Williams two for the Dealers, who got six strong innings from Collin McPherson. The Rascals’ four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh came up just short. … Brandon High’s J.T. Ginn was recognized by Baseball America for having the “best fastball” in Saturday’s Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Ginn hit 97 mph during his two-inning scoreless stint. Hattiesburg’s Joe Gray took an 0-for-4 but impressed with his throwing arm in the outfield.

25 Jul

good old summertime

The Hattiesburg Black Sox, making their first trip to the National Baseball Congress World Series, play their second game in the storied amateur event tonight against the Great Bend (Kan.) Bat Cats in Wichita, Kan. Jaylyn Williams had a couple of hits and scored the game-winning run for the Black Sox in their opener on Sunday, a 5-4 win against the Inland Empire (Calif.) Golden Bears. Hattiesburg was held without a hit for the first six innings, according to the NBC website. Nathan Stewart got the save for the Black Sox, champions of the Magnolia Adult Baseball League and the Mississippi Semi-Pro State Tournament. … Playoffs get underway in the Cotton States League this week, starting with the Tupelo Thunder against the North Delta Dealers tonight in New Albany. The Golden Triangle Jets and Tippah County Tribe play Thursday. The Tallahatchie Rascals and HillCountry Generals, the top two in the regular season standings, await the winners in the Saturday semifinals. The Generals’ Luke Miller leads the college summer league in batting at .453. The Dealers’ Alan Rickman is the top pitcher, with a 5-0 record and 1.42 ERA. … Brandon High’s J.T. Ginn and Hattiesburg High’s Joe Gray are on the roster for Saturday’s Under Armour All-America Game, to be played at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The duo also was picked for the Perfect Game All-American Classic on Aug. 13 at Petco Park in San Diego. Both games will be televised by MLB Network. … Three Mississippians were selected for USA Baseball’s 14U National Team Development Program, which is being held this week in Cary, N.C. Logan Forsythe of Biloxi, Easton Hood of Tupelo and Collin Reuter of Olive Branch made the 40-man roster. (Noah Foster of Tupelo and Drew Tucker of Laurel were on the alternate list.) The program includes “skill development sessions, off-field education seminars and intrasquad games,” according to the USA Baseball website. … Dallas Woolfolk of Ole Miss registered four saves and a 0.87 ERA in 10 games for the Collegiate National Team, which went 15-5 this summer. Mississippi State’s Konnor Pilkington had a 2.65 ERA in five games (four starts).

10 Jul

summer stock

Yes, it’s been quite a summer for Ole Miss’ Ryan Rolison. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in three starts for Orleans, which is in first place (15-8) in the Cape Cod League’s East Division. Rolison threw five hitless innings on Sunday, striking out eight in the Firebirds’ 8-2 win over Chatham. Rolison has allowed just four hits with 22 strikeouts and four walks in 14 1/3 innings in the elite college summer league. As a freshman at Ole Miss last season, he went 6-3 with a 3.06 ERA. Mississippi State’s Luke Alexander is batting .311 with a homer and eight RBIs for Cotuit, which leads the CCBL West. Hyannis is having a tough season, but State’s Jake Mangum (.354) and Southern Miss’ Nick Sandlin (2.20 ERA in nine games) have performed well for the Harbor Hawks. … Closer to home, the Tallahatchie Rascals lead the New Albany-based Cotton States League standings with an 8-3-1 record. Blue Mountain alum Miciah Heard is batting .348 with 15 steals for the Rascals, and Benjamin Smith (Saltillo) and Wyatt Bailey (Coahoma Community College) are among the league’s ERA leaders. Hunter Bishop (Oxford) is batting .375 for the Tippah County Tribe, second in the league at 7-3-2. The CSBL’s top hitter is the Golden Triangle Jets’ Isaiah Eiland (East Mississippi CC), who is batting .486 with 11 runs and 10 steals. Luke Miller (EMCC) is batting .447 with 13 runs and Tucker Childers (Northeast CC) is at .433 with two homers and 11 RBIs. Both play for the Hill Country Generals. Alan Rickman of the North Delta Dealers is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 26 innings. … UM’s Dallas Woolfolk worked three scoreless innings for the Collegiate National Team in its recent five-game series against Cuba. Team USA won 3-2. State’s Konnor Pilkington made two starts but got no decisions while posting a 6.00 ERA. The team starts a five-game series against Japan on Wednesday.

12 Jun

summer stock

A boatload of players from the state’s Big 3 colleges appear on the preseason rosters for the Cape Cod League, the summer circuit that starts play on Wednesday. There are seven on the Hyannis roster, though one of those is Ole Miss’ Dallas Woolfolk, who is also on the roster for Team USA’s Collegiate National Team. The others are Mississippi State’s Jake Mangum (an MLB draft-eligible sophomore), Hunter Stovall and Trystan Barlow, Ole Miss’ Ryan Olenek and Connor Green, and Southern Miss’ Nick Sandlin. Other UM players on Cape rosters include James McArthur and Will Ethridge (Falmouth), Cooper Johnson and Ryan Rolison (Orleans), Thomas Dillard (Cotuit) and Andy Pagnozzi (Brewster). State’s Luke Alexander is also listed with Cotuit. Rosters will change as the season unfolds. … State’s Konnor Pilkington is also on the Team USA roster and USM’s Matt Wallner was invited to training camp in Cary, N.C. The team’s first game is slated for June 22. … Play is under way in the Cotton States League, the six-team, wood-bat circuit based in New Albany. Tucker Childers, a Northeast Mississippi Community College alum from Ripley, is off to a sizzling start for Hill Country: 7-for-10, two homers, seven RBIs in three games. … Joe Gray, a rising senior at Hattiesburg High, participated in a major tournament in Arizona over the weekend with his summer club, the EvoShield Canes National 18 Team. EvoShield Canes coach Jeff Petty told Baseball America Gray is “a very advanced player for his age. I feel he could settle in and play in professional baseball right now. With his athleticism I feel he’s a five-tool player. He’s got everything going for him.”

29 Aug

campus notes

With college classes having begun, it’s time for those “what I did on my summer vacation” stories. Mississippi State’s Konnor Pilkington and Jake Mangum showed out in the Cape Cod League, earning recognition from Baseball America as top 30 prospects from the prestigious summer circuit. Pilkington, a left-hander from Hurley and East Central High, was 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA in seven games for Brewster. He also made the All-CCBL team, as chosen by the league. At State this past season, he was 3-1, 2.08 in 14 appearances. Mangum, a Jackson Prep product, hit .300 with nine RBIs and 11 steals in 35 games for Bourne. The Ferriss Trophy winner batted .408 for the Bulldogs as a freshman last spring. … Of the Ole Miss players who took part in summer league ball, none has more to boast about than Parker Ciracci, another Jackson Prep product who redshirted at UM last spring. Right-hander Ciracci posted an 0.78 ERA, five wins and seven saves in 21 games in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Fellow Rebel D.J. Miller had a fun time, too, batting .286 with 32 runs and 10 steals in the Cal Ripken League. UM’s Kyle Watson, a DeSoto Central alum, swiped 21 bags in the Alaska League. … Southern Miss’ Mason Irby, a transfer from juco national champ Jones County Junior College, played on the NJCAA National Team that went 3-1 in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan. Golden Eagles J.C. Keys and Matthew Guidry were Texas Collegiate League All-Star Game picks. Guidry finished at .331 with 14 RBIs and 24 runs in 40 games for Acadiana, and Keys put up a 4.13 ERA in 13 games for the same club. … Mississippi College’s Hunter Lacefield, a lefty transfer from Northwest CC, went 4-1 with a 0.76 ERA for the North Delta Dealers, the best team in the New Albany-based Cotton States League this summer. … Alcorn State has a new pitching coach, David Duncan, a former Florida A&M pitcher who has some pro experience. The Braves had a staff ERA of 8.03 in 2016, so Duncan has some work to do. … New head coaches are settling in at jucos Pearl River and Mississippi Delta. Michael Avalon left Delta to replace Josh Hoffpauir at PRCC, and longtime Hinds assistant Dan Rives filled the vacancy at Delta, where he played.

01 Jul

touching the bases

Jackson native and ex-big leaguer Stan Cliburn will manage in the independent Atlantic League’s All-Star Game on July 13 in Lancaster, Pa. Cliburn’s Southern Maryland team won the Freedom Division title in 2015, which earned him the managerial honor even though he now skippers the New Britain Bees, who play in the Liberty Division. (So, yes, he’ll be managing against some of his own players.) … Jones County Junior College alum Mason Irby will play on the NJCAA National Team in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan. Irby, a Southern Miss signee from Meridian, batted .387 with eight homers and 76 RBIs for the NJCAA Division II national champion Bobcats. He is a first-team NJCAA All-America pick and an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove recipient as an outfielder. The NBC World Series will be held July 29-Aug. 13 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. … Hunter Renfroe, the former Mississippi State slugger, has been chosen for the Triple-A All-Star Game, set for July 13 in Charlotte, N.C. The San Diego Padres prospect, who leads all of Triple-A with 18 home runs, already is slated to appear in the All-Star Futures Game on July 10 in San Diego. … Also on the Pacific Coast League team for the Triple-A Game are former Biloxi Shuckers star Orlando Arcia and ex-Mississippi Braves Gorkys Hernandez and James Hoyt. Onetime Jackson Mets shortstop Wally Backman is the PCL manager. Stu Cliburn, Stan’s brother and another Forest Hill High alum, is the pitching coach for the International League team; he is with Rochester in the Minnesota system. … Something about summer ball seems to suit Mississippi State’s Brent Rooker. Playing for Brewster in the Cape Cod League, Rooker is batting .391 with eight RBIs through 11 games. Rooker, who was drafted last month but apparently will return to the Bulldogs, was MVP of the New England Collegiate Baseball League last summer, when he batted .360 with 11 bombs. He’ll be in Omaha on Sunday for the College Home Run Derby, along with Ole Miss’ Colby Bortles. … Also in the Cape, Southern Miss’ Kirk McCarty is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA for Orleans. … The North Delta Dealers have had the best hand in the Cotton States League to date, winning nine of their first 10 games in the New Albany college summer loop. East Mississippi Community College’s Garrett Ainsworth is 1-0 with a save in 7 1/3 innings, while John David Kubiszyn (Auburn) is batting .462 with three homers for the Dealers.

23 Jun

heat check

Brian Dozier appears to be over his slump. The former Southern Miss standout, whose average had dipped below .200 in late May, has hit .375 over his last 15 games with two homers, six RBIs and 12 runs. The Minnesota Twins second baseman is at. 244 for the season with eight homers and 28 RBIs, a little off his All-Star production from 2015 but trending in the right direction. … A number of other Mississippians are producing some hot stuff with the bat: At Triple-A El Paso, ex-Mississippi State star Hunter Renfroe hit his 17th homer on Wednesday and has three in his last six games. He is batting .314 for San Diego’s top farm team. … MSU alum Adam Frazier, at Triple-A Indianapolis (Pittsburgh), is batting .393 in June with 14 runs and 10 RBIs. He is at .333 for the year. … At Double-A Arkansas (Los Angeles Angels), Ole Miss product Alex Yarbrough is batting .357 over his last 10 games, boosting his average to .272. He is bidding to get back to Triple-A, where he began the season. … Southwest Mississippi Community College alum Kade Scivicque has hit .359 over his last 10 games for Class A Lakeland in Detroit’s system. The second-year pro, a catcher, is batting .276. … Miciah Heard, a Blue Mountain College player from Thaxton, is off to an 11-for-22 start in the Cotton States League, the New Albany-based college summer circuit. Heard, a .314 hitter for BMC, has 13 steals, nine runs and five RBIs in six games for the Tallahatchie Rascals. … Not exactly hot but glad to be back on the field is Anthony Alford, the former Petal High star. Alford, who suffered a concussion on June 10, played Wednesday for Class A Dunedin, going 0-for-3. The highly regarded Toronto prospect is batting .200 in an injury-wracked campaign.