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Division III baseball is far from joke

By Staff
May 17, 2003
CLINTON Sometimes perception is reality.
When it comes to the quality of NCAA Division III baseball, the coaches and players gathered at Mississippi College this weekend say it is definitely not.
The former Lamar School and Meridian Community College standout said he didn't have any qualms accepting an offer to play at the Division III level, when no major college offers came his way.
There are five major levels on which an athlete can play college sports NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and junior college. All of those levels, other than NCAA Division III, offer scholarships.
Sometimes that leaves those who are not in the know thinking the quality must lack. That is not necessarily the truth.
While Division III schools cannot offer athletic scholarships, the players can receive any academic scholarships that are open to similarly qualified students at the school.
That is something Division III schools such as Clinton-based Mississippi College and Millsaps College in Jackson use to their advantage.
Those who think athletics on the non-athletic scholarship level are nothing more than glorified intramurals are greatly mistaken.
I just want to play it, but every time you play you play to win."
During his 17 years at Millsaps, Page has won 336 games and lost 226 and along the way has had two players be drafted by Major League teams.
Piazza, the slugging catcher for the New York Mets, was drafted in the late rounds by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a favor to L.A. manager Tommy Lasorda, who is his uncle.
It's the same all the way down to us."
Carthage College, one of the six teams competing in this weekend's tournament, has had nine players drafted by the Majors over the last 16 seasons.
Years ago it was possible for great players to go unnoticed. That is no longer the case.
If you can play baseball, the Major League baseball scouts can, and will,
find you.
While it hasn't happened often, Page said there have been times when the egos of the players he was recruiting has gotten in the way.
Page also said that it was a very big plus for Division III baseball in the state that both his Majors and the Choctaws of Mississippi College won their respective conferences and qualified for the NCAA Tournament.v

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