MCC looks to protect home turf
By By Austin Bishop/Special To The Star
May 9, 2001
This year's field for the NJCAA Division I Region 23 Baseball Tournament may be the most balanced in the last 10 years.
That hasn't necessarily been true in years past. MCC has won seven of the last nine tournaments, including last year when the Eagles went on to play in the Junior College World Series for the fifth time in eight years.
The Trojans, coached by Terry Thompson, have won 12 of their last 14 games and recently won the MACJC State Championship.
MCC comes into the six-team, double-elimination tournament which will be played at MCC's Scaggs Field Thursday through Sunday as the No. 1 seeded team.
Meridian, 36-16 on the year, earned that seed by winning the Miss-Lou Conference championship. The second-place team in the league is Bossier, which comes in at 43-13 and ranked No. 7 in the country by the NJCAA.
The No. 2 seed is Gulf Coast, while Mississippi Delta is No. 3, Bossier No. 4, Northeast Mississippi No. 5 and Jones No. 6.
The action begins on Thursday at 1 p.m. with Mississippi Delta taking on Bossier, while Gulf Coast and Northeast Mississippi tangle at 4 p.m.
The host Eagles take on Jones County Junior College at 7 p.m.
Meridian has beaten Jones twice this season, once by a 4-2 count in the Rush Classic and the second time in extra innings in Ellisville.
The Eagles have taken two of three from Mississippi Delta, split two games with Gulf Coast and six with Bossier. MCC and Northeast have not played this year.
McNickle said his team was playing well three weeks ago, but then hit a little slide before facing a week off waiting on the tournament.
He said he wasn't working on a whole lot of surprises for the tournament, which sends its winner up against the Region 22 (Alabama) winner to vie for a spot in the 2001 Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
The Eagles are led at the plate by freshman third baseman Tyler Scarbrough. He is hitting .406 with five homers and 50 RBIs, while Dustin Cliburn is hitting .363 and leads the team with 16 homers and 56 RBIs.
Travis Garner is hitting .359 from the lead off spot with 54 runs scored and 20 stolen bases.
Martin LaRocca (8-3) is set to get the start on the mound against Jones.
Friday's second round has the loser of the Gulf Coast-Northeast Mississippi game taking on the Meridian-Jones loser at 1 p.m.
The 4 p.m. game pits the Gulf Coast-Northeast winner against the Delta-Bossier loser.
The 7 p.m. game features the MCC-Jones winner against the Delta-Bossier winner.