Local flavor drives diamond Choctaws
By By Jared Florreich / staff writer
May 29, 2003
CLINTON Mississippi College is one of the eight sites across the country selected to host a NCAA Division III regional baseball tournament on its home turf of Frierson Field beginning Thursday.
The Choctaws (32-13) are seeded second and will compete along with five other teams in a double-elimination tournament, with the winner advancing to the Division III World Series in Appleton, Wis.
Six players who have ties to East Mississippi and West Alabama schools have helped power Mississippi College to its No 12-ranking in the ABCA Coach's poll, as the squad vies for a trip to the "Big Show" up North.
Infielder Turk Stovall and outfielders Kent Chamblee and Hal Thompson cut their diamond teeth in collegiate-level ball on the field of East Central Community College.
Right-handed pitcher Bo Edmiston honed his skills playing for the Division II University of West Alabama, and catcher Chris Knight played at Meridian Community College.
Jason Curry started hit college career with Henderix College before coming into the Choctaw family. HIs brother, Chris Curry played ball at Meridian Community College and Mississippi State.
The half dozen players' contributions to the 2003 American Southwest Conference Tournament Championship squad is anything but minimal.
Stovall leads the Choctaws in hitting with a .374 average. He is the team leader in doubles with 16 and is second in total bases with 81.
Knight carries a .355 average, third on the team.
Chamblee is batting at a .333 clip, good for sixth on the team, and he is tied for second in hits with 53.
Curry is fifth on the team with a .348 average, and leads the squad with 54 hits. He is also third in total bases with 70.
Thompson has posted a .296 average and is tied for third in runs scored with 36.
Edmiston has posted a 6-3 record and a 2.15 ERA. He leads the Choctaws in innings pitched with 67 and has struck out a team-high 52 batters.
Knight, Chamblee and Stovall said their playing days at East Central have helped them on the field at Mississippi College.
No. 2-seeded Mississippi College begins its quest for a Division III World Series bid at 3 p.m. Thursday against No. 5-seeded Fontbonne University of St. Louis, Mo.
Other first-round regional match ups include top-seeded Carthage (33-6) taking on No. 6-seed Millsaps College (27-15) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Third-seeded Wartburg College (32-10-1) plays fourth-seeded Emory University (32-13) in the opening game at 11 a.m. Thursday.
Frierson Field has been very kind to the Choctaws this season, as the team posted a 22-5 home record.
Mississippi College got the best of Millsaps two-out-of-three times on its home field on March 31 and April 22. The Choctaws won the two contests 4-3 and 15-3.
The Choctaws dropped their season opener 4-3 to Millsaps on Feb. 18.
The home success, especially against its first-round opponent, has given the Mississippi College team confidence entering the four-day tourney.