10 Aug

coming up

The NJCAA National Team, featuring five MACJC players, has made the semifinals of the National Baseball Congress World Series. The NJCAA stars, who rallied to win their quarterfinal 9-8 in a game that ended at 1:40 a.m. local time today, play the Wellington Heat tonight at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kan. Brant Blaylock, a Southern Miss signee out of Northwest Mississippi Community College, is hitting .294 with three RBIs and four runs. Hinds CC coach Sam Temple is an assistant on the team. … The get-off-my-lawn segment of traditionalists may cringe, but Players Weekend is back in the big leagues. “Bull,” “C-Dizzle,” “Bone” and “Juicy J” are nicknames that will adorn the distinctly non-traditional jerseys of Mississippians in the majors during the second annual event that starts Aug. 24. Brian Dozier is “Bull,” Corey Dickerson “C-Dizzle,” Billy Hamilton “Bone” and JaCoby Jones “Juicy J.” Mitch Moreland again will wear “2 Bags,” and Hunter Renfroe will be “Froe.” Lance Lynn will wear “Mia,” his daughter’s name. … Milwaukee visits Atlanta for a big weekend series that matches the parent clubs of the state’s two Double-A teams. The Braves have a much more homegrown roster, with 10 former Mississippi Braves among the 25 players. That tally includes five regulars: Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Johan Camargo and Ronald Acuna. There are four Biloxi Shuckers alums with the Brewers, none of them position regulars. Tonight’s starter, Freddy Peralta, is one of three pitchers who played in Biloxi. … Saturday is National Baseball Card Day, a reminder to search the attic one more time for those lost cardboard treasures. How much is a George Scott rookie worth, anyway? … Four Mississippians are on the East roster for Sunday’s Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego: Jackson Prep’s Jerrion Ealy, Pearl River Central’s Hayden Dunhurst, George County’s Logan Tanner and Olive Branch native Kendall Williams, who attends IMG Academy in Florida.

22 Jul

touching the bases

Welcome to the century club, Corey Dickerson. Dickerson, the Meridian Community College and Brookhaven Academy product, smacked his 100th career home run on Saturday, when he went deep twice for Pittsburgh in a win against Cincinnati. Dickerson, in his sixth big league campaign, has 10 homers on the year and is batting .307 with 40 RBIs. … Lance Lynn’s rocky season continues. The ex-Ole Miss standout allowed six walks, three hits and three runs over five innings for Minnesota in a loss to Kansas City and saw his record dip to 7-8 with a 5.23 ERA. His potential trade value would seem to be sinking. … Drew Pomeranz, another former UM star, is slated to return to active duty on Tuesday for Boston. The left-hander has been out since the end of May with arm problems. A 17-game winner in 2017, he is 1-3, 6.81 this season. … Pittsburgh’s plan to get Adam Frazier more regular at-bats in Triple-A has had mixed results. The former Mississippi State star has a six-game RBI streak at Indianapolis but is batting just .228 over 30 games. He has 18 RBIs and 10 runs all told. Frazier, who spent all of 2017 in the big leagues, opened this season with the Pirates; he has a .239 average in 58 games with the big club. … Ole Miss alum Bobby Wahl has changed teams but not levels. The hard-throwing right-hander went from Oakland to the New York Mets in the Jeurys Familia trade but reportedly will stay in Triple-A with his new organization. Wahl was 3-2 with 11 saves and a 2.27 ERA at Nashville this year. He made seven MLB appearances with the A’s in 2017. … Jackson Prep’s Jerrion Ealy had a run-scoring hit in Friday’s Under Armour All-America Game in Chicago; he joins former Starkville High star — and current Ole Miss receiver — A.J. Brown in the small group of players to participate in Under Armour’s baseball and football all-star games. MLB Network will show the Under Armour game today at 7 p.m. … Ealy is also slated to play in the Aug. 12 Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego, along with Pearl River Central’s Hayden Dunhurst, George County’s Logan Tanner and Olive Branch’s Kendall Williams.

12 Aug

reveal party

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.

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).

15 Aug

the stars come out

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.