Cotton States title up for grabs

By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal

The third season of the wooden-bat Cotton States Baseball League wraps up with playoffs this weekend at the Sportsplex in New Albany.
The Tupelo Thunder and Tippah County Tribe open play at 1 p.m. today, with the winner advancing to play the regular-season champion North Delta Dealers at 6 p.m. The Tallahatchie Rascals and Golden Triangle Jets play in the other semifinal at 3:30 p.m.
The championship game is set for 4 p.m. Sunday.
It’s unlikely any of the games will turn into slugfests, as just nine home runs were hit in the 45 league games this summer.
“The pitching and defense in this league has been phenomenal this summer,” said North Delta Dealers coach John Walker, whose team went 13-3-2 in the regular season. “The guys are all getting accustomed to the wooden bats, so the running game plays a big role in our success.”
It’s not clear if he’ll pitch today, but it would be worth a visit to the Sportsplex to see the Dealers’ Jeremy Massie. The rising sophomore at Northwest Mississippi Community College is 7-0 and has not given up an earned run in 46 2/3 innings, striking out 50 against 12 walks.
“He has been remarkable,” Walker said. “He’s a left-hander and has command of everything he throws. He’s just been dominant every time he’s been on the mound.”
Massie, from Sardis, is coming of a pair of surgeries after breaking his leg last year as a high school senior.
Walker said he would wait to see which team won today’s first game before naming his starter for tonight. He can also call on Jackson State righthander Ethan Sanderlin (2-1, 3.72).
The Rascals’ Beau Cummings (Myrtle, Northeast) is second in the league with a 0.91 ERA and a 6-2 record. The team also boasts the top three hitters in the league, led by Tennessee Tech’s Evan Frazier (.410, 16 of 39).
The Rascals and Dealers played last weekend; Massie tossed a seven-inning no-hitter and won 2-1.
john.pitts@journalinc.com