For the first time in 16 days, the Mississippi Braves will take the field tonight at Trustmark Park in Pearl with a team that’ll look a little different. Most notably, staff ace Jared Shuster has moved up to Triple-A Gwinnett and veteran outfielder Trey Harris has been traded. What hasn’t changed is the M-Braves’ position in the Southern League South second-half standings. They are still in first place at 17-10, 5 games north of the last-place Biloxi Shuckers, who visit for a six-game series that begins tonight. Vaughn Grissom, Atlanta’s No. 4 prospect, is still around and still hitting a ton. In 15 games for the Double-A M-Braves, shortstop Grissom is batting .387 with two homers, 10 RBIs and six stolen bases. Outfielder Justyn-Henry Malloy, who came up from A-ball at the same time as Grissom, is batting .268 with two homers and 10 RBIs. And slugger Drew Lugbauer is still around, as well, leading the club with 21 homers. That trio forms a pretty stout middle of the order. The team’s player of the week for last week was outfielder Justin Dean, who hit .304 with seven RBIs. He leads the team with 16 steals. The reigning pitcher of the week is Darius Vines, a rated prospect who is 6-4 with a 4.14 ERA after going 3-0, 1.17, in July. He is scheduled to start Thursday night. P.S. On Wednesday, the Hattiesburg Black Sox, champions of the Mississippi Baseball Congress State Tournament (a.k.a. the semi-pro tourney), will play an Indiana team in the opener of the 16-team NABF World Series at Battle Creek, Mich. The Black Sox’s roster includes Marcus Ragan (MVP of the state tournament) and Hinds Community College’s Vantrel Reed (tourney batting champ) plus four other all-tournament selections: ex-Mississippi College star Casey Echols, ex-Delta State standout Layne Todder, Hinds CC and Purdue alum Pablo Lanzarote and Northwest Rankin High’s Brady Thomas.
On the injured list since June 15, and with a new organization since June 29, Corey Dickerson is expected to be activated by Toronto today and could make his Blue Jays debut against Cleveland. The veteran outfielder from McComb hit .260 with two homers in 62 games for Miami before suffering a foot injury. He was traded a couple weeks later. While rehabbing the injury in Florida, Dickerson was called home to Mississippi, where his father died on July 6. Dickerson also lost his grandfather in 2020. “These two years are probably the toughest two years of my life,” he told Sportsnet in an article published Monday. Dickerson, a .282 career hitter, batted .258 for the Marlins in 2020. Toronto, very much in the playoff chase, will be the sixth team he has played for in nine MLB campaigns. … Southern Miss product Cody Carroll has been released from Baltimore’s Triple-A Norfolk club. The 28-year-old Carroll had a 5.57 ERA in 22 games for the Tides, well above his career minor league number of 2.94. He has appeared in 18 MLB games over seven pro seasons. P.S. On the local front: The Tippah County Tribe, the third-place team in the regular season, won the Cotton States League North championship on Sunday, beating the Woodall Mountain Lookouts 7-4 in New Albany. Peeko Townsend, a Northwest Mississippi Community College alum, went 3-for-3 with a homer for the Tribe, and Josh Paul of New Albany drove in three runs with a pair of hits. Gavin Holloman of Columbus was the winning pitcher. The top two teams in the college summer league, the Tupelo Thunder and North Delta Dealers, were knocked out in earlier rounds of the weekend playoffs. … The Hattiesburg Black Sox semi-pro team won the American Amateur Baseball Congress’ Stan Musial World Series in Pueblo, Colo., last week. Former Hinds CC star Beau Wallace was the tournament MVP for the undefeated Black Sox, coached by Trey Aby. Other team captains included Trey “Doc” Jones, Eric Wilkes, J.T. Hall and Casey Echols.
The Magnolia State will be represented in the venerable National Baseball Congress World Series this year. The Hattiesburg Black Sox, champions of the Mississippi Baseball Congress (semi-pro) state tournament, are among the 13 teams from five states invited to play in the Kansas-based NBC event, which starts Aug. 3. The Black Sox open the double-elimination tourney against the Colorado Cyclones in Hutchinson. Some games are also being played at Wichita State’s Eck Stadium. The Black Sox won the state title – their third in a row — last weekend, beating the Jackson 96ers 5-2 in the final at Vicksburg’s Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi. Tournament MVP Casey Echols, a former Hinds Community College and Mississippi College standout, drove in two runs for the Black Sox. Hinds CC alum Justin Smith had an RBI, and ex-Warren Central and East Mississippi CC star Marcus Ragan scored the game’s first run. Delta State product Layne Tedder got the win and Clyde Kendrick, a former Texas Rangers farmhand from Vicksburg, notched the save. “These are guys that should be playing on TV,” Black Sox coach Trey Aby told the Vicksburg Post. … The Cotton States League’s postseason tournament starts tonight when the Black Prairie Mudcats play the Golden Triangle Jets and the Tallahatchie Rascals meet the Toccopola SwampMonsters in the opening round in New Albany. Round 2 of the 10-team event is Saturday. The North Delta Dealers are the top seed after a 13-3 season led by Alex Frillman (Holmes Community College), who hit .450; Dylan Hale (Northwest CC), a .405 hitter with 21 RBIs; and Walker Johnson (East Central), who is 2-0, 3.24 ERA. The Woodall Mountain Lookouts (12-6) are the 2-seed. Trace White (Delta State) batted a league-best .455 for the Lookouts. … The Deep South Collegiate League’s eight-team playoffs were slated to start Wednesday and Thursday in Poplarville and Petal. Seven Southern Miss players participated in the first-year league, including Gabe Montenegro, Hunter Stanley and Reed Trimble.
The NJCAA National Team, which includes five MACJC alums, begins play in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday against the San Diego, CA Force. Pitchers Shemar Page of Pearl River Community College and Tyler Spring of Jones County, catcher Tucker Childers of Northeast and outfielders Brandon Parker of Mississippi Gulf Coast and Brant Blaylock of Northwest are on the NJCAA team roster. Hinds coach Sam Temple is on the coaching staff. Parker, from Saucier and West Harrison High, was the NJCAA Division II player of the year as a freshman. … Southern Miss All-American Matt Wallner is hitting .250 with four homers, 11 RBIs and four steals in 80 at-bats for Falmouth in the Cape Cod League, which concludes its regular season today. Falmouth has clinched a playoff berth. Wallner, who did not make the final cut for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, has had a streaky tour in the CCBL. He had a seven-game hit streak that included three homers in mid-July. He is 6-for-13 with three RBIs over his last four games. … The Hattiesburg Black Sox, champions of the Mississippi Baseball Congress state tournament, are participating in the inaugural Bluegrass World Series in Louisville, Ky. The six-day, eight-team tournament, created by the owners of the minor league Louisville Bats, includes various amateur and semi-pro teams, most notably the Louisville Stars, a collection of former major leaguers. Managed by Johnny Bench, the Stars’ listed roster includes, along with Chipper Jones, Tim Hudson and Johnny Damon, former Holmes Community College star Roy Oswalt and Mississippi State alum Jonathan Papelbon. The Black Sox played the Stars on Wednesday; they lost 15-2. … The North Delta Dealers are the 2018 Cotton States League champions; they beat HillCountry 6-2 in the summer league’s title game in New Albany on Sunday. Collin McPherson, a Freed-Hardeman alum, homered, scored three times and pitched six innings for the Dealers. Northwest Mississippi CC’s Hunter White had a hit and scored twice and Southaven’s John Wesley Ray had two hits and an RBI for the Dealers. … Chad Girodo, ex-Mississippi State star and onetime big leaguer, is pitching for the Chicago Dogs of the independent American Association. (The Dogs’ bench coach is Jackson native Stan Cliburn.) Girodo was released from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization in June. Through 10 games with the Dogs, the 27-year-old lefty has a 3.17 ERA.