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Old foes reunite in region tourney

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
May 6, 2004
East Mississippi Community College and Mississippi Delta Community College had always played each other in at least one game during the regular season in MDCC head baseball coach Terry Thompson's 19 years at the helm of the Trojans program at least until this year.
The Lions and Trojans ended their 18-year streak of meeting in the regular season in 2004, but the two teams will get to see each other on opposite sides of the diamond this year in the Region XXIII Baseball Tournament.
EMCC (15-27) and MDCC (24-19) will lead off the first day of games in the double-elimination, four-day tournament at Scaggs Field at 1 p.m. today.
Gulf Coast Community College (32-11) will meet Northeast Community College (20-19) in the second game of the first round at 4 p.m., and Meridian Community College (40-10) will take on Delgado in the final game at 7 tonight.
Though EMCC and MDCC missed the annual meeting during the regular season, Lions head baseball coach Bill Baldner said he didn't think having a previous game this year against the Trojans would make a big difference today.
EMCC being able to get "the big hit" is exactly what Thompson will be keeping an eye on in today's game.
The 19-year MDCC baseball coach said he may not know much about the 2004 version of the Lions, but he knows what Baldner-coached teams are capable of on the field.
Today's game will mark Thompson's final journey into the Region XXIII tournament. The longtime Trojans coach will retire at the end of the season.
Thompson has guided his team into the regional tournament in 17 of the 19 years he has coached MDCC, and he captured the region crown in 1987, 1990, 1995 and 2002.
MDCC will start pitcher Tony Evans (7-4), and EMCC will counter with Robert Tucker (3-3) on the mound.
MCC's first-round game against Delgado will be a rematch from last year's regional semifinal game. The Eagles defeated the Dolphins, and they went on to win two games over Gulf Coast to capture the Region XXII crown.
MCC and Delgado split a regular-season doubleheader this year in New Orleans. The Eagles won the first game of the double-dip 1-0, but they lost the second game 5-1.
Chris Rayborn (8-0) will start for MCC against Delgado. The Dolphins pitcher was not available at press time.
The middle game of the opening day will pit two teams, the Northeast Tigers and Gulf Coast Bulldogs, with little knowledge of each other.
Scott said he has very little information about the Bulldogs, but he does have past experience matching coaching wits with Farris.
Drew Nanney (5-3) will start the first game for Northeast. The Tigers pitcher missed a month on the mound this season due to back spasms, but Scott said Nanney should be ready to go today.
Gulf Coast will use either Peter Wiggins (6-3) or Daniel Varnado (6-2) on the mound in the afternoon game. The Bulldogs team has been hit by a stomach virus in the last few days, and Farris will be juggling his lineup to get healthy players in the game.
The Region XXIII tournament will run through Sunday at Scaggs Field.