01 May

on memory lane

It was a familiar sight when he was wearing the uniform of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Bulldogs, Brandon Parker circling the bases after a home run. The Saucier native made the trip for the first time as a Mississippi Brave today, though his first career Double-A bomb couldn’t help the run-starved team beat Pensacola. The visiting Blue Wahoos spanked the M-Braves 5-3 in 10 innings for the second straight game, dropping the home team’s record to 7-16. At Gulf Coast in 2018 and ’19, Parker belted 38 homers, setting the school record with 24 as a freshman. He was the NJCAA Division II player of the year that season, when he also batted .424 with 81 RBIs. He hit 14 more homers as a sophomore and even swiped 12 bases. Atlanta drafted him in the 10th round in 2019. He hasn’t hit a ton in pro ball, with 27 homers and a .224 average over 257 games. He is 8-for-45 (.178) this year as the M-Braves’ fourth outfielder. Parker reached Double-A at the end of 2023 and made the M-Braves’ opening day roster this season. He called it “an honor” to play in his home state and for a team he grew up rooting for as a kid. P.S. Justin Steele, the ex-George County High star from Lucedale, threw 63 pitches in a rehab assignment for Triple-A Iowa in the Chicago Cubs’ system. Steele has been on the MLB injured list since opening day with a hamstring strain. The 2023 All-Star, a 16-game winner for the Cubs, worked 3 1/3 innings today, yielding six hits, a walk and three runs.

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