The sound of pads popping, whistles blowing and bands playing can mean only one thing: Fall ball is just around the corner. Returning Ole Miss players were all over Baseball America’s rankings of the top prospects in various summer leagues. Ryan Rolison, who went 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA in the Cape Cod League, made BA’s list of the top prospects in that highly regarded circuit. UM’s Parker Caracci was tabbed as the best prospect in the Ripken Collegiate League, where he posted seven wins and a 0.70 ERA. First baseman Cole Zabowski also made the Ripken top 10. Pitcher Houston Roth was on the publication’s list of top prospects in the Perfect Game Collegiate League, and Dallas Woolfolk was a rather obvious standout (four saves, 0.87 ERA) for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. … Mississippi State left-hander Konnor Pilkington, who could be the first Mississippian picked in the 2018 draft, also pitched well for Team USA, and Bulldogs catcher Dustin Skelton made BA’s Perfect Game prospect rankings. … Mississippi College outfielder Blaine Crim was ranked among the top prospects in the Great Lakes Collegiate League, and Will Freeman, a sophomore right-hander at Jones County Junior College, was rated No. 1 in the Prospect League. Alabama native Freeman was 3-1 with five saves and a 1.80 ERA as a freshman for state champion JCJC. … Mississippi State’s new freshman class includes three members of Baseball America’s Top 500 draft prospects from 2017: outfielder Jordan Anderson, pitcher Chad Bryant and outfielder Owen Lovell. Ole Miss has two of the Top 500: pitcher Jordan Fowler and first baseman Tim Elko. … Southern Miss welcomes back standout closer Nick Sandlin, who showed good stuff in the Cape Cod League, and Matt Wallner, who won several national freshman player of the year awards last season. … Delta State returns a bunch of players from its NCAA Division II College World Series team, including slugger Zack Shannon, who earned a boatload of conference, regional and national honors. … Mississippi University for Women will have a fall program for its first class of recruits. MUW, which has applied for NCAA Division III membership, will launch its inaugural season in 2018. Coach Matt Wolfenbarger is a former Coahoma Community College pitching coach and Delta Academy head coach. The Owls announced 35 commitments from prep and juco players for the coming season and will hold an open tryout on Saturday at Columbus High, where the W will practice and play. The 2018 schedule includes games against Rust, Tougaloo, Blue Mountain and Belhaven.
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).
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.
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.”
There’s a touch of Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry in the championship series of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. Ole Miss’ Will Golsan, Nic Perkins and Will Stokes play for the Baltimore Redbirds and Mississippi State’s Cody Brown and Blake Smith for the Bethesda Big Train. The Redbirds and Big Train begin a three-game series today at Cockeysville, Md. Golsan is hitting .234, Perkins .278 (with 16 RBIs) and Stokes has a 2.12 ERA for Baltimore. Brown is batting .233 with 33 runs for Bethesda, and Smith has put up a 1.62 ERA. … Mississippi products were all over the highlights from Thursday’s Cape Cod League games. Errol Robinson of Ole Miss had three hits and three runs for Hyannis; he is still among the summer league’s batting leaders at .319. Mississippi State’s Jacob Robson, batting .318, got two hits and scored three runs for Bourne, which also got an RBI double from State’s Reid Humphreys. J.B. Woodman, another Bulldog, hit his first home run for Falmouth. And Bulldog tracks are all over the CCBL pitching stats. Dakota Hudson (1.08) and Vance Tatum (1.92), both with Hyannis, and Daniel Brown (2.13) of Cotuit rank among the league ERA leaders. … Southern Miss’ Daniel Keating, playing for Acadiana in the Texas Collegiate League, ranks second in the loop with 26 steals and fifth with a .303 average. He also has 17 RBIs and 27 runs.
Hot-hitting Adam Frazier, the former Mississippi State standout, is on the West Division roster for Wednesday night’s Eastern League All-Star Game at Portland, Maine. Frazier, playing shortstop for Pittsburgh’s Double-A Altoona club, is batting .373 with 16 RBIs and 33 runs in 51 games. He got a delayed start due to a spring injury this season, his third in pro ball. … Southern Miss’ Dylan Burdeaux was named the New England Collegiate Baseball League player of the week on Monday. Burdeaux, hitting .303 with three homers and 16 RBIs for the summer, will be joined by Golden Eagles and Ocean State teammates Tim Lynch and Chuckie Robinson in this Sunday’s NECBL All-Star Game at Sanford, Maine. … Matt Tracy, the former Ole Miss left-hander who was in the big leagues for one day in April, is back in Double-A and trying to find his form. Tracy, in the New York Yankees’ system, has a 2.89 ERA in four games at Trenton, including a quality start (one run in six innings) on Saturday. He was scuffling at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with a 5.79 in 12 appearances over two stints there. He has a career 3.95 ERA working mostly as a starter. Tracy got a call-up from the Yankees on April 11, when they needed an extra arm. He pitched two innings against Boston at Yankee Stadium, allowing two hits, two walks and three runs (all unearned) in an 8-4 loss. … Melvin Rodriguez, the SWAC player of the year at Jackson State, is just 1-for-12 in his pro debut with Washington’s Auburn team in the New York-Penn League. Rodriguez batted .422 for the Tigers in 2015 with seven homers and 65 RBIs. P.S. Southwest Mississippi Community College alum Kade Scivicque already has earned a promotion from the Detroit Tigers. The fourth-round pick from LSU, who was hitting .406 at Connecticut in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League, has been bumped to West Michigan in the Class A Midwest League.
With about two weeks left in the season, the Tippah Tribe has emerged as the best team in the Cotton States League. The Tribe is 12-3 with five straight wins in the New Albany-based college summer league. Luke Stanley, a Delta State alum, went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a run and a steal to spark the Tribe to a 6-5 win over Tallahatchie on Sunday. Tallahatchie, 9-7 and tops in the Delta Division, gets another crack at the Deep South Division-leading Tribe on Tuesday. The Tribe’s Jerry Tatum has a 0.86 ERA and two saves over 21 innings. The Rascals’ Zach Phillips leads the CSBL in homers (four) and RBIs (20), and Payton Cain is 4-1. In other games on Sunday: Tyler Dowdy and Drew Carter combined on a one-hitter to lead Hill Country past Tupelo 1-0. Dowdy, a Mississippi Delta Community College product, earned his third win, Carter – an Itawamba CC alum — the save. Jordan Lambert, batting .524, scored the game’s only run. And Jon Marc Girardeau and Zachary Quillian combined for six hits, six RBIs and four runs to pace Golden Triangle over North Delta 13-1. Matthew Mills notched his fourth win for the Jets, who are 9-8 in the Delta Division.