One month from today, the college season gets under way in the Magnolia State when William Carey University hosts Missouri Baptist and Blue Mountain Christian welcomes Lane College. Carey went 49-11 in 2023 and reached the NAIA World Series. Crusaders coach Bobby Halford will begin his 39th season at the helm with 1,300 career victories. Blue Mountain finished 26-25 last season, qualifying for the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament, where the 6-seed Toppers beat Carey before bowing out in a rematch. … Former big leaguer Bobby Bradley, the former Harrison Central High slugger, finished 2023 with a bang, getting four hits including a home run on Saturday in the Mexican Pacific League. Bradley is batting .281 with three homers and 19 RBIs for Monterrey. He hit 30 bombs for Charleston in the independent Atlantic League last summer. Bradley played in 97 MLB games for Cleveland from 2019-22. … On the topic of slugging, DeSoto Central alum Austin Riley made mlb.com’s list of the 10 longest home runs in 2023. Riley tied for ninth with a 473-footer on April 3 at St. Louis; it was the first of his 37 homers on the year for Atlanta. The longest homer of 2023 was belted by — who else? — Shohei Ohtani, a 493-footer in June. … Ex-Ole Miss standout Chad Smith recently signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets; the right-hander posted a 6.59 ERA in 10 games for Oakland in 2023.