27 Jun

one more for the ‘sip

The dust has settled in Omaha. The shouting has (mostly) subsided. And there it is: Ole Miss is the national champion of 2022. Let that soak in. A month ago, this seemed improbable if not impossible. But the Rebels got a ticket to the dance, and magic happened. Ten wins in 11 NCAA Tournament games, a sweep of Oklahoma in the College World Series final. On Sunday, there was more great pitching. A big home run. A crazy eighth-inning rally. Three punchouts in the ninth. A nationally relevant program for years, Ole Miss now has validation with its first national title. There is vindication for coach Mike Bianco, who has been on a hot seat for virtually his entire 22 years in Oxford. There was a time when New York City was called the Capital of Baseball, in the heyday of the Yankees, Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. Today, Mississippi could fairly be called the Capital of College Baseball. Pearl River Community College also won a natty this year. Mississippi State won its first national title in 2021. The Magnolia State can now claim six national baseball championships, with William Carey, Delta State and Jones College also on the list. The Rebels’ impressive feat caps another great year for state baseball. Southern Miss hosted and won a regional. DSU made the Division II regionals. Carey won the SSAC Tournament and went to the NAIA postseason. Millsaps made it to the SAA championship series in D-III. Rust College, under first-year coach John Bates, got an invitation to the NAIA division of the Black College World Series. Individual honors were abundant — and more may be coming. Ole Miss’ Dylan DeLucia was rightly named the MVP of the CWS. Teammate Jacob Gonzalez was first-team All-SEC. MSU’s R.J. Yeager was also a first-teamer. USM’s Tanner Hall has made two first-team All-America lists. He was also the C-USA pitcher of the year. Scott Berry was C-USA coach of the year, pitching guru Christian Ostrander assistant coach of the year and Hurston Waldrep and Landon Harper were first-team All–C-USA selections. DSU’s Rodney Batts was the Gulf South coach of the year, and Jake Barlow and Carson Clowers were named first-team All-GSC. Carey’s A.J. Stinson and R.J. Stinson were All-SSAC picks, as were Blue Mountain’s Alex Frilliman and Dylan Hale. Millsaps’ Jim Page was SAA coach of the year, with Wil Wood and Ryan Erwin earning first-team All-SAA honors. Belhaven’s Brett Sanchez was an All-ASC pick. Pearl River CC’s Tate Parker was a first-team All-America pick in NJCAA Division II. So, when does fall ball start? P.S. In other news: Perhaps foreshadowing the Rebels’ win in Omaha, former Ole Miss catcher Nick Fortes hit his first walk-off home run to give Miami a 3-2 win against the New York Mets. … Ex-State star Hunter Renfroe has been placed on the injured list by Milwaukee, which will activate Bulldogs alum Brandon Woodruff from the IL to start on Tuesday against Tampa Bay. … Former Petal High standout Demarcus Evans, pitching in Triple-A, has been designated for assignment by Texas. The erstwhile big leaguer likely will stay in the organization. … Wes Johnson, a former MSU pitching coach, is leaving the Minnesota Twins’ staff to take a coaching job at LSU.

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