MCC Eagles face Faulkner Friday
By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
May 29, 2003
Meridian Community College assistant baseball coach Chad Caillet stood in front of the Eagles' batting line up last Tuesday and gave a very quick run down of what he knew about the pitching staff the squad will see in the Super Regional this weekend against Faulkner State Community College.
The first-year coach twirled a bat around his body in front of the home team dug, as he talked about the Sun Chiefs' top two pitchers, a lefty and a righty, and the other pitchers on the staff.
In total, the strategy session at the plate may have last 10 minutes, but the lack of scouting the coaches at MCC can share with their players doesn't seem to bother the team.
The only thing the Eagles (37-16) really need to know about their opponent for Friday's doubleheader at Faulkner State, which is scheduled to start at 3 p.m., and a possible deciding game at 3 p.m. Saturday, is that the Sun Chiefs are on a roll.
Faulkner State, which had games against the single-A affiliates of the Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies on its schedule, finished the regular season with a sub-.500 16-29 record. One of the team's wins was against the Marlins' single-A team.
The Sun Chiefs erased the memory of the bad regular-season record in the Region 22 Baseball Tournament racking up four straight wins for a berth in the Super Regional to play for a spot in the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
MCC enters the best-of-three series on winning streak of its own.
The Eagles took five out of six games in the Region 23 Baseball Tournament at Scaggs Field last weekend, including winning back-to-back nine inning games last Sunday to capture the regional crown.
MCC outscored the Gulf Coast Community College Bulldogs, who had between the Eagles three times prior to the championship meeting, x-x in 18 innings to keep the team's season alive.
The Eagles will attempt to keep their winning ways going by using curve-ball specialist Doolittle and the emerging pitching force freshman Chris Rayborn (9.2) on the mound.
Rayborn lead's the MCC staff with a 1.86 ERA, and he recorded 62 strike outs in 63 innings.
The freshman from Natchez picked up a 6-2 win in his last outing against Delgado Community College in the Region 23.
Rayborn allowed seven hits over nine innings, with six strike outs, in the victory.
Doolittle is second on the staff with a 2.28 ERA, and he posted a team leading 93 strike outs in 71 innings.
The sophomore native of the Queen City posted two wins in the regional tourney, with a complete-game victory over GCCC to force a second game last Sunday and a 8-0 win over Mississippi Delta Community College in the first game of the four-day event.
The Eagles have not decided in what order the two aces will appear in the series.
Faulkner State hasn't set its rotation for the series either.
The Sun Chiefs have five pitchers they feel can win them a game, and the staff is confident with any hurler it sends to the mound.
MCC does have a couple of additional aces up its collective sleeves entering the tournament.
Left fielder Josh Morgan, who has hit a team-high 14 home runs, grew up two hours away from Bay Minette, Ala, in Thomasville, Ala., and he has played along side some of the Sun Chiefs' players.
The Eagles' hitters are also familiar with the Sun Chiefs' No. 2 pitcher, Carl Upton a native of Vicksburg.
One thing that will not be familiar for the green-and-white clad squad is the baseball surroundings.
MCC has not left the comforts of its home field in two weeks, as the team hosted both the state and regional tournaments at Scaggs Field.
A change in setting may not necessarily be a bad thing for the team, which posted a road-record of 13-6 this season.
But with any series that can end and prolong a team's season, the Super Regional will come down to which team can handle the pressure of elimination or moving on the best.