27 May

special occasion

The mood tonight at Trustmark Park in Pearl should be celebratory. It’s Memorial Day, which traditionally mixes well with baseball, and the Mississippi Braves are back home and playing as well as any team in the minors. Atlanta’s Double-A club just swept a six-game series at Chattanooga and has won seven straight overall, 11 of their last 13. The bats have perked up of late, with 30 runs over the last four games. Tonight’s starting pitcher, Hurston Waldrep, one of the Braves’ top prospects, has won three straight starts. He is 3-3 with a 2.64 ERA on a staff with a 3.36, which ranks among the best in Double-A. Recently added prospect Spencer Schwellenbach has yet to allow a run in two starts. Middle reliever Hayden Harris has been virtually untouchable with a 0.59 in 13 games. Shortstop Nacho Alvarez, the top position player prospect in Atlanta’s system, has lived up to billing with slick defense, a .278 average, 13 RBIs and 16 steals. Five M-Braves rank among the top 15 base stealers in the Southern League, led by Geraldo Quintero with 17 bags. The team will wear patriotic-themed jerseys against Montgomery tonight (6:05 first pitch) with a pregame flyover scheduled and — of course — postgame fireworks. P.S. Austin Riley, ex-DeSoto Central High standout, is back in Atlanta’s lineup today for the first time since May 12. He is batting second behind Ozzie Albies at Truist Park. Riley is hitting .245 with three homers and 18 RBIs. With Ronald Acuna down, it’s time to get going. … Something has gone horribly wrong for Will Warren, the former Jackson Prep star now in the New York Yankees’ system. Warren, who contended for a spot in the big league rotation in the spring, is 0-4 with a 15.88 ERA in four May starts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He gave up seven earned runs in three innings on Sunday. Warren was 3-0 with a 2.33 in five April starts.

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