05 Jun

bobcats rule

Junior college teams in the state have played in the considerable shadow of the big schools this season. For one day at least, Jones County Junior College owns the spotlight. The Bobcats won the NJCAA Division II national championship on Saturday night, beating GateWay College of Arizona 7-1 in Enid, Okla. Ben Stiglets, a freshman from Gulfport, threw an eight-hitter with eight strikeouts, and World Series MVP Erick Hoard, a freshman from Brandon, led a 15-hit attack with a 3-for-6 effort as the third-ranked Bobcats (54-9) rolled to their first national title. Jones reached the championship round in 2011. Jones got homers from Mason Irby, Tanner Huddleston and Shelton Wallace in the clincher, its second win of the day. Stiglets (10-0) was knocked around by GateWay in the Bobcats’ loss on Monday but bounced back with a sterling outing on Saturday, continuing a string of such performances by Bobcats hurlers in Enid. “It kinda helped to get slapped in the face,” first-year coach Chris Kirtland told the Enid News & Eagle. Calder Mikell, Mason Strickland and Will Brand also stepped up as JCJC won its last four games in Enid by a 40-11 count. P.S. Elsewhere, Mississippi State is in fine shape for a regional title, Southern Miss faces an uphill battle and Ole Miss is done. The Rebels bowed out in shocking fashion Saturday in the Oxford Regional, when Will Stokes gave up a two-run homer in the ninth inning against Tulane. USM, after a 7-2 loss to Florida State in the Tallahassee Regional, will have to beat South Alabama today and then take down FSU twice to win the region crown. State is 2-0 in the Starkville Regional, needing only one win to advance to a Super Regional.

03 Jun

play ball

There’s baseball in Starkville and Oxford today, and in Tallahassee, Fla., too, where Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss begin the chase for regional championships. The fourth Magnolia State school still playing also gets back on the field in Enid, Okla. It will be a battle-tested but well-rested Jones County Junior College team that plays tonight in the NJCAA Division II World Series. The third-ranked Bobcats (51-9) haven’t played since Tuesday, when they beat Brunswick (N.C.) in an elimination game. JCJC now faces GateWay (Ariz.) College, 3-0 in the tournament, following an elimination game between Mercer County (N.J.) and Sinclair (Ohio). The Bobcats were in fine form in the 11-3 victory against Brunswick: Erick Hoard (a .402 hitter with 18 homers) drove in three runs and Clint Sasser (.382 with 84 runs) scored three, Calder Mikell earned his 11th win with a strong start and Brunswick pitchers contributed 11 walks and five HBPs. For tonight’s game, pitching-rich Jones likely will bring back Mason Strickland (11-0), the starter from its Game 1 victory last Saturday.

27 May

title search

Based on their numbers, the Scots of McHenry County College have fast legs and power arms. The team that Jones County Junior College will face in its opener Saturday in the NJCAA Division II World Series has swiped 140 bases in 57 games and rolls out three starting pitchers who average 10 or more strikeouts per game. McHenry, located in Illinois, is 44-13 and won the Region 4 championship to advance to Enid, Okla. JCJC, the Region 23 champ, is 49-8. This is the first World Series appearance for McHenry, the second for Jones. The Scots are led offensively by the speedy duo of Riley Richarz (35 steals, .406) and Nick Vasic (31, .413). Clay Brinkman (.373, six homers, 64 RBIs) and Brett Stratinsky (nine homers) supply some thunder. The pitching staff, which has a collective 3.42 ERA, features Andrew Reisinger (10-0), Jack Granath (8-0) and Reilly Peltier (7-2). Third-ranked Jones, which took out No. 1 LSU-Eunice and No. 10 East Central in its regional, can also run and pitch a little, among other things. Top players for the Bobcats are Mason Irby (.410, seven homers, 72 RBIs, 30 steals), Erick Hoard (.397, 17 HRs, 72 RBIs), Clint Sasser (.389, 47 steals), Mason Strickland (10-0, 2.85) and Calder Mikell (9-1). The 10-team World Series field includes No. 2-ranked Mercer County from New Jersey and No. 5 Sinclair of Ohio as well as teams from New York to North Carolina to Arizona.

31 May

wow

Jackson State — No. 271 in the RPI — beats No. 1-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette 1-0 in the NCAA regionals at Lafayette, La., on Friday night. Biggest win in Tigers history. Definitely. … Hinds Community College beats Madison (Wis.) 12-6 in the NJCAA Division II World Series. The Eagles play for the national championship tonight against No. 1 Mesa (Ariz.). Only two Mississippi colleges have ever won national baseball titles: Delta State in 2004 and William Carey in 1969. … The Mississippi Braves sweep a doubleheader (7-0 and 7-0) from Pensacola — completing a sweep of the five-game series at Trustmark Park — and are now just 1 game back of first-place Mobile in the Southern League South.

29 May

a few atta-boys

Toler Robinson of Pearl delivered a walk-off RBI double in the 13th inning on Wednesday night as Hinds Community College beat Madison (Wis.) 8-7 in the NJCAA Division II World Series. Austin Sanders of Madison worked four scoreless innings for the win. The Eagles are 4-0 in the tournament and play No. 1-ranked Mesa (Ariz.) in a semifinal round game today in Enid, Okla. … Mycal Jones got three hits, scored a run and drove in one as the Mississippi Braves beat Pensacola 5-4 in 13 innings at Trustmark Park. Jones is hitting .322 for the M-Braves, now 30-22 on the campaign. … JaCoby Jones, the former Mr. Baseball from Richton, went 3-for-6 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs for Class A West Virginia (Pittsburgh Pirates). Jones is batting .270 with six homers, 23 RBIs and 32 runs. … Tommy La Stella got two hits in his first major league game for Atlanta; the second baseman is the 85th M-Braves alumnus to advance to The Show. … Former M-Braves standout Brian McCann played flawlessly in his first pro start at first base and delivered two hits in a New York Yankees victory over St. Louis. … Jarrod Dyson, the ex-Southwest Mississippi CC star, stole two bases for Kansas City to boost his season total to nine. In limited playing time, Dyson is fourth in the Mississippians in MLB Stolen Base Race, trailing Billy Hamilton (18), Brian Dozier (12) and Desmond Jennings (11). … Last but certainly not least, T.J. House, the Picayune High product, worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on five hits with eight strikeouts and a walk in his second career MLB start for Cleveland. The Indians wound up losing 3-2 to the Chicago White Sox. P.S. Ex-Ole Miss pitcher Phil Irwin has been claimed on waivers by Texas (from Pittsburgh) and assigned to Triple-A Round Rock.

28 May

standing tall

It’s getting very interesting for Hinds Community College in the NJCAA Division II World Series. Only two unbeatens remain in the double-elimination tournament – and the Eagles are one of them. Half of the original 10-team field has been sent home, and another will be eliminated in today’s first game at Enid, Okla., when Mercer County (N.J.) plays Pasco-Hernando (Fla.). Hinds (38-19 overall, 3-0 in Enid) meets fellow unbeaten Madison (Wis.) in the second game. Hinds beat Pasco-Hernando 9-4 on Tuesday behind the brilliant pitching of freshman Houston Case (five-hit complete game) and homers from Matt Jones (his 10th) and Marshall Boggs. Madison, which has played only two games, had Tuesday off. The Wolfpack is 44-15. Keith Browning leads the hitters with a .372 average and 42 RBIs. The pitching staff has a 2.84 ERA for the season and has yielded just three runs in the tournament. For what it’s worth, Madison also has a lot of impressive history: eight juco World Series appearances and three national titles (the last in 1997). The Wolfpack finished third last year. Win or lose tonight, Hinds will play again on Thursday. Mesa (Ariz.) will play the Hinds-Madison winner.

26 May

next up for hinds

The skinny on Hinds Community College’s next opponent: Vincennes (Ind.) University’s Trailblazers can hit and they can run. Hinds gets back on the field today in a winner’s bracket game in the NJCAA Division II World Series at Enid, Okla. Vincennes, which knocked off No. 1 Mesa CC 9-4 in its opener on Saturday, features four regulars who are batting .398 or better, and the team has 30 triples and 117 stolen bases in 59 games. The Trailblazers (43-16) are making their second juco World Series visit. Their leading hitter is Lance Myers at .416, but the best all-around offensive player might be Robbie Doring (.406, five homers, 54 RBIs, 80 runs, seven triples and 24 steals). Hinds (36-19), playing in its fifth juco World Series, won its opener 14-11 over Lincoln Land CC, powered by Quade Smith (3-for-3, three walks, four runs, two RBIs) and Luke Reynolds (four RBIs). At .399, Reynolds is the Eagles’ top hitter.