Tanner Allen, the former Mississippi State All-America, is finding his groove at Double-A Pensacola, the third level he has played at this season. The lefty-hitting outfielder, a 2021 draftee by Miami, smacked his first Double-A homer on Wednesday night and is 10-for-23 (.323) in eight games for the Blue Wahoos. Overall this season, Allen is batting .275 with nine homers, 39 RBIs and eight stolen bases. … Former Pascagoula High star Willie Joe Garry Jr., who has reached Double-A in his fifth pro season, is also enjoying success at the game’s herd-cutting level. Garry, a lefty-hitting outfielder, is batting .263 for Wichita in the Minnesota system. He has four doubles, two triples, three homers, 16 RBIs, nine runs and four steals for the Wind Surge. Garry, a 2018 draftee, is still only 23. … Ex-Ole Miss standout Grae Kessinger, at Double-A Corpus Christi on a rehab assignment from Houston, delivered a two-run single in the eighth inning to boost the Hooks to a 2-1 win against Frisco. Kessinger, who made his big league debut earlier this season, is batting .194 in 19 games for the Astros. … Taylorsville’s Billy Hamilton has signed a minor league contract with Tampa Bay. The MLB veteran, recently released by the Chicago White Sox (see previous post), could be a serviceable pinch runner/defensive replacement for the Rays, who are battling for an American League playoff berth. … Darius Vines became the fifth Mississippi Braves alum to debut as a starting pitcher for Atlanta this season, throwing six strong innings to notch the win at Colorado on Wednesday night. Former M-Braves Dylan Dodd, Jared Shuster, AJ Smith-Shawver and Allan Winans also debuted this year and are among the 16 different starters the Braves have used in 2023. … The Braves visit the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight for a compelling clash of National League titans, with Atlanta ace — and M-Braves alum — Spencer Strider (15-4, 3.46 ERA) facing former Ole Miss star Lance Lynn (4-0, 2.03 in five starts for LA). Of note: Lynn has allowed an MLB-worst 34 homers (six since joining the Dodgers), while the homer-happy Braves just set a franchise record for bombs in a season with 250. P.S. The U-18 version of Team USA, including Jackson Prep standout Konnor Griffin, begins play tonight (local time) against The Netherlands in the U-18 World Cup in Taipei, Taiwan. The U.S. is the defending champion. Griffin had an RBI triple and scored a run in an exhibition victory against Chinese Taipei earlier this week.