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State Games begins sooner than you think

By By Austin Bishop / regional sports editor
May 28, 2002
Thinking about this and that on a Tuesday while wondering whatever happened to Pepe Frias …
The State Games of Mississippi officially gets under way the weekend of June 14-16 and concludes June 20-23.
But a portion of the events will actually take place this weekend at Okatibbee Lake. Due to the need of wind, the sailing event is being held two weeks earlier that the other events.
There will be six races in all, with four being held on Saturday and two more on Sunday.
The Sailing portion of the State Games have been held each year since the statewide event began 10 years ago.
Read Wednesday's sports section of The Meridian Star for more information on this year's sailing events of the State Games of Mississippi.
Alabama team doing well in Colorado
Admittedly, one of my favorite sporting events to cover is the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
Having had the opportunity to go four of the five times that Meridian Community College made it to the JUCO World Series including broadcasting three of those on radio I can tell you it is a special week.
And it's not just the top quality baseball.
The teams are certainly good, but the view from the press box is impressive. You can see the mountains in the background as you enjoy the game on the field.
And the hospitality is unmatched.
The people of Grand Junction know exactly what they have and they go all-out to keep the World Series there.
Not only does the city cater to the participants and their fans, but those who come to the games pick a team to cheer for and follow them religiously. They dress in the team colors and wouldn't miss a game if you paid them too.
The school kids mob the players for autographs as they come off the field and more than one of the players who have participated in the World Series has told me that was one of the most overwhelming baseball experiences of their lives.
And after a team is eliminated, the kids collect hats, sweat bands, socks, batting gloves … anything they can get their hands on from the players on their favorite teams.
A Mississippi team didn't make it this year, so Wallace State-Hanceville (Ala.) will have to serve as our local team. After all, it was Wallace State that defeated Mississippi Delta The Region 23 Champion for the spot in the World Series.
So far things are going well for Hanceville.
The Lions defeated San Jacinto North (Texas) 11-7 in the opener, then blanked John A. Logan (Ill.) by an impressive 10-0 score in the second game.
Hanceville is set to take on Manatee (Fla.) at 8:30 p.m. tonight in a game between undefeated teams.
State's big three out of the Show'
It was really no surprise that Mississippi State, USM and Ole Miss didn't receive bids to the NCAA Tournament. But it may have been a little surprising at the SEC and Conference USA teams that got in ahead of the Rebels, Bulldogs and Golden Eagles.
Ole Miss is probably the one team out of the three that would have had the best chance to get into the tournament, had they just qualified for the SEC Tournament.
But the Rebels' three-game sweep at the hand of a Mississippi State team that was struggling up that point, kept Ole Miss from making the SEC Tournament and ultimately from getting an SEC bid.
Georgia got into the NCAA Tournament with a less-than-impressive 30-27 record, but the Bulldogs made it to the SEC Tournament that obviously made a big difference.