Congratulations to the Mississippi State Bulldogs team for bringing home the NCAA National Baseball Championship. The performance of the team has brought positive national exposure to the entire state. When any of our state sports teams do well, we all reap the benefits. The economic impact of the championship was between $5-6 million, according to University officials. “We couldn’t have afforded to buy this exposure,” stated MSU President Mark Keenum. You have to give kudos to many at Mississippi State, including the legendary coach Ron Polk and current Athletic Director John Cohen, for the sustained success of the program that made their 12th appearance in Omaha. Coach Chris Lemonis and his team of Bullies led by Tanner Allen, Jordan Rowdey, Landon Sims and Will Bendar are now names etched in MSU history alongside the past stars of Dudy Noble Field. Starved for the school’s first national championship, over 20,000 Bulldog fans showed up in force as they made the 15-hour trek to Omaha and set up a Dudy Noble North atmosphere at Ameritrade Park. The positive TV comments from the commentators about the size of the MSU crowd were constant throughout the series. Even in rain delays ESPN showed the 30/30 version of “Thunder and Lightning” that featured Will Clark and Rafael Palemiro. It really turned out to be a week of TV takeover by Mississippi State baseball. As one of my Shubuta friends Andy Cochran stated, “Wait until next year” is no longer needed at Mississippi State. The 2021 Bulldogs joined William Carey (1969), Delta State (2004) and Jones County Junior College (2016) as the only other Mississippi baseball national champions.
The final college baseball rankings listed Mississippi State as the No. 1 team while Ole Miss was ranked 13th and USM 23rd by D-1 Baseball.
Five college baseball players from the state were named to the All-American team. State’s Tanner Allen and Landon Sims were named first team All-American by D-1 Baseball along with Ole Miss pitcher Doug Nikahzy. Making the second team was Rebel freshmen shortstop Jacob Gonzalez while USM pitcher Hunter Stanley was named to the third team.
Former Mississippi State baseball player Adam Frazier was selected in fan balloting as the starting second baseman in the upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star game. Frazier is in his sixth season with the Pittsburgh Pirates and is second in the National League with a .326 batting average.
Southern Mississippi football coach Will Hall will be touring the state beginning next week, as he will make stops in Jackson on July 15 and Long Beach on July 19. Hall will also meet with out of state alumni in Huntsville, Houston and Baton Rouge in July before the final meeting in the Hub City on August 14.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association announced this week that the six championship football games will be played in Jackson at Memorial Stadium this year on December 3 and 4.
Odds & Ends
For the seventh consecutive year, SEC Network presents “SEC Network Takeover,” a two-week stretch in which all of the league teams get a whole day of dedicated network programming. Ole Miss is scheduled for this Saturday, July 10, and Mississippi State will follow on Sunday, July 11.
Last Thursday, the NCAA’s Name, Imagine and Likeness (NIL) became law in Mississippi. Now all NCAA college athletes will finally be able to profit. Jackson State had five players sign with 3 King Grooming while Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral inked with the Dreamfield agency to help in striking deals and making profits off appearances, endorsements, commercials and sponsorships.
Moss Point native Devin Booker led his Phoenix Suns into the NBA finals and also notched a spot on the USA team for the Tokyo Olympics.
Joey Chestnut set a world record by eating 76 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes to win his 14th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest title on Coney Island.
Dale is a Waynesboro resident who has been writing sports in Mississippi since 1973.