13 Mar

steal this base

There’s a whole lot of thievery going on in Mississippi. Jackson State, which stole six bases in a win over Grambling State on Tuesday, leads NCAA Division I in stolen bases with 59 (in 63 attempts) in its 17 games, of which the Tigers have won 13. Belhaven University has swiped 63 bags (in 16 games), which is second-most in NCAA Division III. Rust College has 86 steals, ranking No. 3 in NAIA, and Blue Mountain Christian has 79 bags, fifth in NAIA. (Not sure what this says about the quality of catching at the NAIA or D-III levels.) At JSU, there is a team-wide emphasis on stealing bags, with three regulars having nine or more and two others bagging four each. Jordan McCladdie leads the Tigers with 13, followed by Rodney Hibler Jr. with 12 and Joseph Eichelberger — the .483 hitter — with nine. Rust is running with even more abandon, having attempted 105 steals in 25 games (7-18 record). Malik Berrien ranks second in NAIA with 24. Hayden Redding has 17 and Bryland Skinner (used most often as a pinch runner) 14 for Blue Mountain, which has bolted to an 18-5 start. Cole Fletcher leads Belhaven with 12. At NAIA William Carey, which has swiped 37 bases, Jerod Williams has 11. … The state’s Big 3 D-I schools haven’t caught the running bug. Southern Miss has just 12 steals, Ole Miss 22 and Mississippi State 23. No individual has more than six bags at any of the three. P.S. Blue Mountain’s Arderrius “Peeko” Townsend has been named the NAIA national player of the week after batting .500 with five homers and 12 RBIs last week. Note: Townsend, more slugger (15 homers in 2024) than sprinter, has swiped eight bases for the Toppers.

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