16 Apr

the road ahead

Millsaps College’s postseason path will start in Rome, Ga., on Thursday in the Berry bracket, one of the Southern Athletic Association’s two mini-tournaments. The Majors (22-17, 10-11 SAA) concluded their conference schedule in grand fashion, blasting Centre 21-10 Sunday on the road. After a Maloney Trophy Series game against Belhaven on Tuesday at Twenty Field, the Majors will shift their full attention to Birmingham-Southern. Fifth-seeded Millsaps lost two of three last month to fourth-seeded BSC (21-14, 11-10). Berry (25-11, 15-4) won the SAA regular season title and is the top seed. No. 2 Rhodes is hosting the other four-team bracket. Jim Page’s Majors last made the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2015. They’ll have to get through the double-elimination Berry bracket and then a best-of-3 league championship series to get there this season. An at-large bid appears unlikely. Andy Page is the Majors’ leading hitter at .401 and has a team-best 41 runs. Chase Callaway, a .321 hitter, leads in RBIs with 27. Several others stepped up on Sunday with some big numbers: Cavan Breland (3-for-7, five RBIs), Jimmy Johnstone (three RBIs) and Wes Lassere (four runs). The team’s top arms include Jacob Mardick (2-4, 3.74 ERA, two saves in 15 games) and Barret Kaul (4-3, 4.18 in 11). … The Majors already have clinched the Maloney Trophy, having beaten D-III rival Belhaven in the first two games. The Blazers will bring an 11-21 mark into the game.

01 May

here and there

Rivals William Carey University and Blue Mountain College will meet Wednesday in the first round of the SSAC Tournament at Montgomery, Ala. NAIA No. 23 Carey (36-15) is the third seed, BMC (31-23) the sixth in its first SSAC postseason appearance. The Crusaders won two of three from the Toppers in the regular season. Middle Georgia State is the top seed in the eight-team, double-elimination event. … Delta State, regular season champion in the Gulf South Conference, will host the league tournament May 6-9 at Ferriss Field in Cleveland. DSU is 37-11 and ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division II South Region. … With four games left in the regular season, Jones County Junior College has clinched the MACJC championship and a berth as host in the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament set for May 17-20. Jones, ranked No. 1 in Division II, is 40-2, 22-2 MACJC. The Bobcats are the defending D-II national champs. … Millsaps went 2-1 in the weather-interrupted SAA Tournament in Memphis over the weekend and ends its season at 19-23. Rhodes, which didn’t play Millsaps, went 2-0 in the event and advanced to the league’s championship series. The Majors will miss the NCAA Division III postseason for the second straight year. … Belhaven, ranked seventh in the April 25 NCCAA poll, is still awaiting word on a bid to the organization’s national tournament. The Blazers, in their second year as a D-III program, are 26-14. … Three Mississippians are among the statistical category leaders after MLB’s opening month. Ex-Taylorsville High star Billy Hamilton (Cincinnati) is tied for the lead with 10 stolen bases, this despite batting just .213. McComb’s Jarrod Dyson (Seattle) is third in steals with eight, while hitting .229. Mississippi State product Mitch Moreland (Boston) has 12 doubles, obviously feeling right at home in his first year in Fenway Park. Former Ole Miss star Zack Cozart (Cincinnati) leads with four triples. His season-high is five, set in 2014. A career .249 hitter, Cozart is sitting at .352, eighth in the majors. … Meridian Community College alum Corey Dickerson (Tampa Bay) leads Mississippians in homers with six; he is batting .330 with nine doubles for the Rays.

19 Apr

lost weekend

Millsaps College wears purple, which, oddly enough, is the color of royalty but also the color of a bruise. The Majors went into a weekend series at rival Rhodes sitting on the throne in the Southern Athletic Association. They came home late Saturday feeling a little beat up. The Lynx swept the Majors in three games, handing Millsaps as many SAA losses as it had accumulated all season to that point. Birmingham-Southern, at 15-4-1 in the conference with a game to play today, appears to have captured the regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference postseason. Millsaps (25-10, 15-6) will still host a four-team tournament next weekend at Twenty Field with a chance to advance to the best-of-3 championship series. BSC will also host a four-team double-elimination tourney. Millsaps stumbled in Game 1 at Memphis 5-4 on Friday despite out-hitting the host Lynx 11-7. Rhodes put up a four-spot, aided by an error, in the second inning against Smokey Ethridge (4-3) and the Majors couldn’t recover. In Game 2 on Saturday, Rhodes handed Keith Shumaker his first loss of the season (against eight wins). He allowed 11 hits and a walk in losing a 3-2 duel against Adam Putnam (7-2), who checked the Majors on six hits. In Game 3, a seven-inning nightcap on Saturday, the Lynx (26-11, 14-6) pounded out 18 hits against four Majors pitchers, blowing the game open with a six-run sixth and winning 11-2. Was the Majors’ confidence shaken by the lost weekend, or will they come out angry and motivated in the tournament next weekend?

23 Apr

ready or not

In a much different position than it was in a year ago, Millsaps College starts postseason play on Friday. The fourth-seeded Majors (21-16 after scoring 27 runs in a two-game sweep at Oglethorpe over the weekend) play 5-seed Hendrix in one of the two four-team pods in the Southern Athletic Association Tournament. Also in Millsaps’ bracket are No. 1 seed (and pod host) Birmingham-Southern and 8-seed Sewanee. The survivors from the double-elimination pods meet in a best-of-3 series for the conference title. Millsaps won both the regular season and postseason championships in 2013 en route to the NCAA Division III World Series. Keith Shumaker beat Birmingham-Southern in the title clincher at Twenty Field last May. The preseason All-American is still around, sporting a 5-1, 2.39 pitching ledger and a .344 batting average. But Shumaker and the Majors have their work cut out for them in their quest to repeat as league champs and return to the D-III regionals.

17 Mar

going strong

Millsaps College swept a doubleheader at Centre over the weekend — the third game was rained out on Sunday — to climb to 12-7 overall and 3-2 in the Southern Athletic Association. While the team’s season has been defined by fits and spurts, sophomore outfielder Isaac Glenn has been a steady force. The former Madison Central High two-sport star (baseball/football) is batting .426 with eight doubles, 11 RBIs, 13 runs and five stolen bases. Glenn plays center field and usually hits third for the Majors. As a freshman, he batted .299 with 20 RBIs and 28 runs in 30 games. The Majors are at home on Tuesday for a non-conference game against Huntingdon. … Jones County Junior College, the No. 1 team in NJCAA Division II, opened its MACJC South Division schedule with a doubleheader sweep at Pearl River on Saturday. JCJC coach Christian Ostrander notched his 199th and 200th career wins. The Bobcats are 21-1 heading into a South twinbill on Tuesday at East Central, the defending state champion. PRCC, which started 11-3, has dropped eight in a row and is 0-4 in the division. … Ti’Quan Forbes, the highly rated draft prospect at Columbia High, is hitting .389 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 11 games. Columbia is 8-3.