10 Jun

wrapping it up

The college season in the Magnolia State was tinged with disappointment. To paraphrase the Billy Beane character from “Moneyball,” If you don’t win the last game of the season, the rest is irrelevant. Winning the last game is what every team is gunning for. But while no school from Mississippi won a national championship, there was plenty of stuff to be proud of. William Carey made yet another trip to the NAIA World Series. The Crusaders won the SSAC Tournament, then hosted and won an NAIA regional before ending their run at 37-16. R.J. Stinson was a Ferriss Trophy finalist and John Snyder a second-team All-America. Southern Miss, under first-year coach Christian Ostrander, won the Sun Belt Tournament and got an NCAA Tournament bid, finishing 43-20, the program’s eighth straight 40-win season. Mississippi State rallied from a sluggish start to earn an NCAA bid and finish 40-23. The Bulldogs’ Dakota Jordan won the Ferriss Trophy, and Connor Hujsak made the SEC All-Tournament team after delivering two game-winning knocks. Delta State reached the GSC Tournament championship round and earned an NCAA Division II regional spot. Led by All-GSC third baseman Dylan Coleman, the Statesmen finished 33-24. Jackson State reached the title game of the SWAC Tournament and was three outs from winning it. The Tigers finished 36-20 and were ranked No. 2 in Black College Nines’ final HBCU Large School poll. Belhaven — led by CCS pitcher of the year Brett Sanchez and player of the year Owen Abney — reached the semifnals of the CCS Tournament and ended the season with a 25-17 mark. The Blazers also swept all three games from Maloney Trophy rival Millsaps. Blue Mountain Christian reached the SSAC Tournament final — losing to Carey — and earned the school’s first NAIA Tournament bid. The Toppers, who finished 31-23, beat Carey in a three-game series for the first time, and Arderrius Townsend was a first-team All-America choice. MUW went 22-15, setting a school mark for regular season wins. Southeastern Baptist of Laurel posted a 17-15 record, including a win over Division I Alcorn State. It was an especially tough year for Ole Miss, which wobbled in at 27-29, 11-19 in the SEC. The Rebels’ season ended in gut-wrenching fashion: a walk-off loss to Mississippi State in the SEC tourney. Mississippi College‘s season also ended with a thud: a three-game sweep at the hands of rival Delta State. The Choctaws wound up 20-25, 10-20 in the GSC. Millsaps endured a 14-27 campaign that ended with two one-run losses to Centre (Ky.) in the SAA postseason. Both Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State struggled again, the Braves going 6-43 (5-25 SWAC) and the Delta Devils 12-34 (4-26). NAIA member Rust finished 16-33 overall (10-11 GCAC) but did win a couple games in the GCAC Tournament. Tougaloo went 13-35, 8-13 GCAC. P.S. Seven players from Mississippi jucos earned All-America honors in NJCAA Division II. Pearl River Community College first baseman Hollis Porter — the MACCC player of the year — was a first-team pick, along with Meridian catcher Blaise Priester. PRCC outfielder Bryce Fowler, Hinds outfielder Thomas Marsala and Jones infielder Brady Thomas made the second team, and East Central pitcher Luke Cooley — the conference pitcher of the year — and outfielder Mo Little were on the third team. ECCC got an at-large bid to the juco World Series and reached the semifinals, finishing 55-9.

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