Eagles headed to World Series
By By Tony Krausz/Assistant sports editor
May 18, 2003
BAY MINNETE, Ala. Meridian Community College right fielder Brad McKee's third home run of the season in the seventh inning of the final game of the Eagles' Super Regional contest against Faulkner State Community College (25-28) would have been far fetched if it were written into a Hollywood script.
The sophomore corner outfielder slugged a 2-2 offering from Sun Chiefs relief pitcher Brandon White over the right-field wall, where Eagles head coach Michael Federico stood after being thrown out of the game in the bottom of the sixth, to shift the momentum back to the team from the Queen City.
McKee's round-trip blast tied the game at six, and it paved the way for MCC (39-17) to capture a 7-6 victory at Stanley Jones Field on Saturday for a trip to the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
First baseman Aaron George produced the game-winning hit to seal the first win for a Mississippi junior college against an Alabama junior college on the road in a Super Regional match up.
The freshman corner infielder, who had gone 0-for-9 at the plate in the first two games of the series, rocketed a first-pitch offering deep to the right-field wall.
Faulkner State right fielder Michael Orso made a leaping attempt at the wall, but he was unable to hang onto the ball, as George's blast bounced out of his glove and off the fence for a double.
MCC shortstop Brandon Rousseve, who reached base by drawing a walk two batters prior, scored on the long hit for the one-run lead.
Federico had a perfect view of the game-winning hit from where he stood after leaving the game early.
Federico exited the game in the bottom of the sixth inning on the instance of the umpires.
The Eagles skipper engaged in a heated argument with the umps after the third base official ruled that third baseman Van Pope dropped the ball while applying a tag on a Sun Chiefs' runner. Pope and catcher Ricky Newman corralled Orso in a run down between third base and home, with the Eagles holding onto a 5-4 lead late in the game.
MCC's third base dove for the runner about a third of the way from the plate to apply the tag. After making contact with the runner, Pope fell to the ground on his elbow and the ball popped out of his glove, as he tried to make a throw to third base to get another Faulkner State runner who advanced near the end of the run down.
The game's third base umpire ruled the ball came out when Pope applied the tag, and Federico aggressively made his case against the call before he was thrown out of the game.
The coach's exit from the game left assistant coach Chad Caillet in charge of directing the team over the last three innings.
As Federico exited the game in the sixth, MCC's Todd Doolittle entered the game for his first relief appearance of the season.
The sophomore ace was roughed up in the opening game of the best-of-three series, lasting only 1 2/3 innings giving up four runs on three hits.
The unfamiliar role suited the right-hander well, as he entered the game in a tight spot with runners on first and second base and having only one out.
Doolittle struck out the first batter he faced, and he induced a ground ball back to the mound to get the final out at first.
The future Mississippi State University pitcher continued to roll over the final three innings giving up just one hit, with four strike outs, to notch the
Faulkner State took an early lead in the championship contest scoring one run in the first inning.
Sun Chiefs left fielder Julian Brown, who led off the bottom of the inning with a single, scored on a ground out to the right side of the infield.
The lead off hitter had made his way to third base when MCC starter Matthew Creighton, who left the game after two innings because of soreness in his elbow, missed George's glove when he tried to double off the
runner at first.
MCC third baseman Van Pope erased Faulkner State's lead in the top of the second inning with his 14th home run of the year.
The freshman corner infielders homer sailed over the right-field wall and off a tool shed behind the field.
Pope's blast also brought home left fielder Josh Morgan for a 2-1 advantage.
The Sun Chiefs grabbed a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning scoring three runs on three hits.
MCC notched a 5-4 advantage in the top of the sixth inning scoring three runs on four hits. The rally was high lighted by doubles from Pope and George.
The Eagles tallied 11 hits in the championship game, after notching only 14 hits in the first two games.
Morgan went 2-for-3 in the Eagles win, with one RBI, and he finished the series going 8-for-12, with six RBIs. McKee went 2-for-4 for MCC.
MCC travels to Grand Junction, Colo., for the Junior College World Series with the win. The Eagles will begin their quest for the schools first national title in baseball on Sunday.
Community College but the state of Mississippi."