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franklin county times

USM enjoys historic season

By By Richard Dark / EMG staff writer
May 28, 2003
NEW ORLEANS The historians will always look back to the era of Corky Palmer and Scott Berry when talking about the past glory days of Meridian Community College.
But with all due respect, now Palmer finally has a benchmark here at his current job at Southern Miss with an historic season that includes a sparkling 45-14 record, the first-ever Conference-USA regular season and tournament title. And next week, there will be a first-ever NCAA Tournament regional in Hattiesburg.
Sunday's triumphs brought about many concessions.
The sign will now be hung in the locker room, made by the parent of a player, which diagrams the path to Omaha, Neb., the site of the College World Series.
Palmer said he did not want to put it up until the Eagles had received their bid. "We'll put it up today after the selection show." Another concession involves emotions.
The usually stoic Berry was much softer during the postgame melee.
We sat in that locker room last year and watched as we got bypassed for the regionals and it stuck with us all the way. We have never let them forget that; the players never let themselves forget that. And we have led and finished this thing wire-to-wire and I can't be prouder for a better bunch."
He, no doubt was wishing his bedridden wife Laura, who is back in Meridian with family, could have been on hand to witness the nirvana.
Berry also gleaned pleasure from the way it happened Sunday. "This Tulane program is one of the best and they probably kept us out last year and it's mighty special to take something (tourney title) away that I know was very special to them."
Hoff the prophet:
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir played the role of prophet of sorts when he assured Palmer last fall that the Golden Eagles would in fact reach lofty heights this season and get to a regional. "I remember Jarrett said, You can mark it down and get yourself ready coach, we're going to a regional. And he was right. He reminded me of that about a week ago and I told him yeah, I wrote it down and put it in my desk."
Bang, bang plays:
With Sunday's title win, the USM Golden Eagles, winners of nine of their last 10, have compiled a 20-9 record away from Pete Taylor ParkUSM tore through the tournament, getting at least 10 hits per gameOnly one error was committed in the tournament, coming in the game against Houston
The Green Wave was denied its fifth tournament title in eight years, having won in every previous title game appearance.
All-Tournament Team: Southern Miss landed its entire outfield on the All-Tournament Team. Joining Clint King, Jason Lowery and Jeff Cook on the squad was third baseman Beau Griffin. Brian Bormaster, who went 9-13 in the tourney and had four RBI Sunday, Tommy Manzella and pitcher Billy Mohl, all represented Tulane.
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