30 May

playing pepper

Three straight wins in elimination games have put East Central Community College into the semifinal round of the NJCAA Division II World Series. The third-seeded Warriors (54-8) play 2-seed Brunswick (N.C.) today at Enid, Okla. (LSU-Eunice, the top seed, is in the other semi.) A clutch two-run double by Marvin Jackson and six strong innings from Chris Bilingsley helped ECCC beat South Arkansas 6-4 on Wednesday, and Jayden Adcox went 4-for-4 with five RBIs and Reid Hall pitched a hitless final three innings in a 13-4 romp past Madison (Wisc.) later Wednesday. … Former Smithville High star Jared Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his fifth save as High-Class A Rome beat Greenville 10-8. Johnson, who has a 2.37 ERA in 14 appearances for the Atlanta affiliate, is tied for the second-most saves in the South Atlantic League. … Ole Miss alum Derek Diamond moved to 3-0 with a 2.70 after a solid five-inning outing (one run, seven strikeouts) for High-A Greensboro (Pittsburgh system). Diamond was a 2022 draftee off the Rebels’ national title team. … Anthony Alford, the ex-Petal High star, is enjoying the hitter-friendly Mexican League, having banged out nine hits in 25 at-bats (.360) in his first seven games for Campeche. Former big leaguer Alford was recently released by Cincinnati. … Jackson native James Steels, who had a brief major league career before becoming a Mexican League star, was born on this date in 1961. Steels might best be remembered as the Texas League player of the year in 1984, when he was with Beaumont in the San Diego system. The Golden Gators lost to the Jackson Mets in the league championship series. … Jackson native Jim Bivin, who had a brief major league career with Philadelphia, enjoyed his 15 minutes of MLB fame on this date in 1935, when he retired Babe Ruth on a ground out in his final at-bat. Ruth, playing for Boston, was replaced in the bottom of the first inning by Ludlow native Hal Lee.

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