PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast coach Rodney Batts and his staff have had to hit the recruiting trail hard this year, and the reason why will be on display Friday at Sophomore Day at Ken "Curly" Farris Field.
First pitch in the doubleheader against No. 4 Itawamba will be at 2 p.m. Ceremonies will start at 1:30 and the day's activities will be streamed at https://livestream.com/MGCCCBulldogs/events/8660730.
There will be 16 players participating in their last regular-season games at Perk, 13 of whom started together in fall 2017.
"The thing that makes this group really special is the way they came in last year. They gelled together so quickly," Batts said. "We saw it two weeks into the fall season. Sometimes a big group takes a little bit longer to come together, but not this group. It's a testament to the type of guys they are."
The players being honored will include Ryan Blackburn (So., Oak Grove/Oak Grove), Alden Davis (So., Pascagoula/Pascagoula), Tanner Estill (So., Petal/Petal), Miller Hancock (So., East Webster/Maben), Nicholas Hertz (So., St. Stanislaus/Long Beach), Matt Inlow (So., Pascagoula/Pascagoula), Kole Kittrell (So., Greene County/State Line), Castor Lee (So., Gulfport/Gulfport), Cullan O'Shea (So., Mary G. Montgomery/Mobile Ala.), Brandon Parker (So., West Harrison/Saucier), Fisher Ray (So., George County/Bruce), Jacob Roberts (So., Gulfport/Gulfport), Ethan Saucier (So., Gulfport/Gulfport), Truitt Smith (So., Stone/Wiggins), Preston Stringer (So., Stone/Perkinston) and Ike Williams (So., St. Martin/St. Martin).
Last year's team finished third at the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament, and the Bulldogs have qualified for the postseason again.
"This has been a special group," Batts said. "They've accomplished a lot in the two years they've been here. It's going to be a tough group to turn loose when this year is over. They've meant everything to this program. They came in with the right attitude, the right work ethic. Hopefully, there's still a lot of baseball in front of us."
- MGCCC: 26-14/16-10 MACJC, T-5th place in standings
- Itawamba: 37-6-1/22-4 MACJC, clinched state championship
Last Time Out
- Gulf Coast beat up on Southwest in a pair of games at Perkinston on Tuesday, winning 17-2 and 9-3.
- Itawamba swept Mississippi Delta to clinch the MACJC championship Tuesday. The Indians won 9-4 and 5-2 in Fulton.
Gulf Coast knocked Itawamba out of the Region 23 Tournament last year, winning 14-1 in an elimination game on May 18, 2018, in Eunice, La.
- Gulf Coast has clinched a postseason spot. The Bulldogs will either play at Pearl River or Meridian and are still alive to host.
- The Bulldogs are 6-0 since moving into the first-base dugout.
- May 9-10, NJCAA Region 23 Qualifier, location TBD
- May 15-19, NJCAA Region 23 Tournament, Fulton
- May 25-31, NJCAA Division II Championship, Enid, Okla.
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.