There’s only one way to celebrate National Baseball Card Day: Tear open a pack of Topps cards. The anticipation of the big reveal makes you feel like a kid again. Every time. You remember when you got that Richie Allen rookie card that nobody else had. So there you go, hoping for, say, a Cody Bellinger or an Aaron Judge or a Ronald Acuna. Instead you pull out a Miguel Rojas, a Kolten Wong and a Melvin Upton Jr. It happens. There’s also a card of James Loney in the uniform of the Texas Rangers, a team he never officially played for, and a reprint of a 1989 Bill Schroeder. Oh well, there will always be another pack — and the wonderful anticipation that comes with it. P.S. Watch for it: Boston-New York at Yankee Stadium, today. Ex-Ole Miss star Drew Pomeranz (11-4, 3.36 ERA) will pitch for the Red Sox against Luis Severino in Game 2 of the latest huge series between these ancient rivals. The Yankees won an electric Game 1 on Friday night. … Perfect Game All-American Classic at San Diego’s Petco Park, Sunday. Hattiesburg’s Joe Gray and Brandon’s J.T. Ginn will participate in this high school showcase to be televised by MLB Network at 3 p.m. (Both also played in the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field.) Gray, an Ole Miss commit, is one of the six finalists for Perfect Game’s Jackie Robinson Award, which goes to the organization’s national player of the year. Gray batted .477 with seven homers and 19 steals for Hattiesburg this past season.
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).
A long, long time ago – well, 40 years or so – Don Kessinger roamed the infield dirt at Wrigley Field as an All-Star shortstop for the Chicago Cubs. Today, his grandson Grae Kessinger will stand in the same spot. The younger Kessinger, also a shortstop, will participate in the Under Armour All-America Game at the Friendly Confines in Chicago. Kessinger, 6 feet 2, 180 pounds, batted .354 with 36 RBIs and 45 runs as a junior in 2015 for state champion Oxford High. He is committed to Ole Miss, where both his grandfather and father, Kevin, played. … Also in the Under Armour game is Starkville’s A.J. Brown, who is just the second player to participate in both the Under Armour baseball and football all-star games. Brown, 6-2, 220, a heavily recruited wide receiver, plays center field in baseball and hit .344 with 30 runs and 12 steals for Starkville this past season. He says he want to play both sports in college. Today’s game will be televised by MLB Network at 3 p.m. … George County High’s Walker Robbins is slated to play in Sunday’s Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego. Robbins, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound first baseman/pitcher, batted .348 with four homers and 28 RBIs and went 8-2 with a 1.47 ERA as a junior this past season. A Mississippi State commit, Robbins was MVP of the MHSAA Juniors All-Star Game at Trustmark Park in June. Robbins is the younger brother of Mason Robbins, the ex-Southern Miss star now playing in the Chicago White Sox’s system. The All-American Classic will be televised by MLB Network at 7 p.m.