NEW ALBANY – It’s time to view the end-of-the-season Cotton crop.
The Cotton States College League is scheduled to conclude its season today and Sunday with its season ending tournament at the New Albany Sportsplex.
“We’re super excited to be getting to the league championship series,” said Frank Dodds, a Cotton State official. “It may be a cliché, but any team could win it this year.”
The North Delta Dealers, coached by Jon Andy Scott and the Golden Triangle Jets, coached by Ronald Sims, earned first-round byes by virtue of winning their respective divisions over the two-month summer schedule.
Play begins today with quarterfinals as the Tallahatchie Rascals play the Tupelo Thunder at 10:30 a.m. The other quarterfinal contest is the Tippah County Tribe versus the Hill Country Generals at 1 p.m.
Semifinal action is also today, with the Jets playing the Rascals-Thunder winner at 3:30 p.m., and the Dealers against the Tribe-Generals winner at 6 p.m.
“We won five or six games in a row at the end of the season, so we’re in good shape entering the tournament,” said Scott, a former Booneville and Ole Miss player. “We hit the ball well and play solid defense, and I think that’s what has helped us this season.”
Jaylan Bledsoe from the Dealers and Holmes CC led the league during the regular season in hitting with a .449 average, followed by the Rascals’ Hayden McMillon (Lyon College) at .444. Justin Whitaker of the Jets and Westminster College was third in the league at .400.
The Dealers also featured two pitchers with ERA’s under 1.00 – Turner Neely from Arkansas Monticello at 0.51 in 351⁄3 innings, and Justin Skinner from Southwest Tennessee CC at 0.59 in 301⁄3 innings.
“I feel pretty comfortable with the team we have,” said Sims, who was a student assistant for Mississippi State during its recent College World Series run. “We’ve started being more selective at the plate, and started throwing more strikes.”