Meridian Star

May 9, 2013

Eagles ready for challenge in playoffs

from school reports
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Meridian Community College baseball has experienced one of its more difficult seasons in recent memory, but the fortunes of the Eagles could drastically change this weekend.

    MCC (18-28) will travel to New Orleans, LA to compete in the 2013 Region 23 Tournament on the campus of Delgado Community College. The Dolphins earned the right to host the event by capturing the 2013 Miss-Lou Conference regular season championship.

    "We are looking forward to the challenge of competing for a regional championship on the road in a tough environment against two outstanding opponents in Delgado and Baton Rouge," said MCC head coach Dillon Sudduth. "I know our guys are excited about post season play and we expect to play well down there."

    MCC only managed one victory during the regular season in Miss-Lou Conference play and that victory came against Delgado. The Eagles were able to defeat the Dolphins 14-3 to split its final Miss-Lou Conference series with Delgado.

    MCC will enter the three-team tournament as the third seed, while Baton Rouge Community  College will enter play as the second seed. The Bears defeated MCC in all five meetings during the regular season and two of the losses came by one run.

    MCC is scheduled to open the tournament Saturday against Baton Rouge Community College at noon and the Eagles will play Delgado at 3:30 p.m. The final game Saturday will feature Baton Rouge and Delgado at 7 p.m.

    MCC will enter the tournament with a .282 team batting average and will led at the plate by freshman Paul Angel.     The Birmingham, AL native led the Eagles in batting average during the regular season at .343 with three home runs, and 22 RBI’s. Angel also finished the season with 14 doubles, three triples, and scored 28 runs for the Eagles. Angel has primarily played in right field this season for the Eagles. 

    MCC will also be looking for great offensive numbers this weekend from Dallas Hannah and Charles Morton.

    The former Meridian High standout, Hannah, closed out a successful sophomore season for the green and white by batting .303 with six home runs, and 20 RBI’s. Hannah has played most of his games during the 2013 season at first base for MCC.

     Morton has played the role for most of the season as the designated hitter and currently leads MCC in RBI’s heading into the tournament with 32. The Nicholls State signee ended the regular season with a .338 batting average with one home run.

    MCC will also be looking for a solid weekend from sophomore center fielder Jonathan Youngblood. The Lexington, KY native returned to MCC for his sophomore campaign and led the Eagles in runs scored with 30. Youngblood led the team in stolen bases this season with 19 and batted at .300 clip for MCC.

    The Eagles will look for solid performances on the mound this weekend from freshman Andrew Crook and sophomore Brandon Smith.

    Crook will more than likely draw the start in the opening game against Baton Rouge. Crook started the season in the bullpen, but has made a huge impact in the starting rotation for the Eagles. Crook finished the regular season with a 4-1 record and worked just over 56 innings that was good enough for a 2.86 ERA. Crook led the team in strikeouts with 50 and allowed 22 walks. Smith will look to draw the start on the mound in the second game of the tournament against Delgado.

    The Northwestern State signee had a solid end to the season for the Eagles after earning a complete game victory over Delgado. Smith closed out the season with a 3.92 ERA and collected 40 strikeouts.