Meridian hopes season ends with another trip to JUCO

Gracing the first two National Junior College Athletic Association national baseball polls has been a familiar name.

For the second week in a row, Meridian (Miss.) Community College has been earning votes.

Although the Eagles have yet to crack the top 20 teams, Meridian is 22-10 and has again received votes in the national poll, which was released Wednesday.

Meridian is playing at the Division I level after three season at Division II. Before the 2006 season, every community college in Mississippi dropped to D2 and the Eagles followed suit.

“This is our first year back and we are trying to make a statement,” Meridian coach Chris Rose said.

The Eagles are looking to add to their seven appearances in the Alpine Bank JUCO World Series between 1993-2004.

“When we bring a guy onto campus and they see the seven World Series plaques, they know that is what we are all about,” Rose said. “If you play here and you don’t go, that team is kind of forgotten about.”

This current group at Meridian hopes not to be forgotten about at 12 games above .500 and riding an eight-game winning streak. Rose said the team is strong but has struggled at times in the field.

“This group has been a little feast or famine,” Rose said. “We have lost nine one-run games and in seven of those, we have had more than one error.”

The Eagles are in Region 23, which is made up of only Meridian, Delgado (La.) Community College and Baton Rouge (La.) Community College. If Meridian makes it out of the Region, it will play in the South Central district tournament, which will includes the winner of Region 2 (Oklahoma) and Region 16 (Missouri) tournaments.

“Our key is going to be defense,” Rose said. “I believe we can swing the bats with anyone and pitching depth I can’t imagine teams that have more than we do.”

Around the rest of the top 20 poll, Howard (Texas) College is at the No. 1 spot for the second straight week at 24-0. The Hawks are second in the nation with a .404 batting average.

Yavapai (Ariz.) College, the 2006 JUCO runner-up, stayed at No. 2, with Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) College jumping two spots up to No. 3.

Young Harris (Ga.) College, Miami Dade College, Central Arizona College, Johnson County (Kan.) Community College and Broward (Fla.) College make up the next five spots, followed by Wallace State (Ala.) Community College-Hanceville, which dropped from No. 4 to No. 9 after going 1-3 this past week.

Panola (Texas) College moved up five spots to crack the top-10.

Newcomers to the top 20 this week include Hagerstown (Md.) Community College and 2007 champion Chipola (Fla.) College.

The big drop was Connors State (Okla.) College, which dropped out of the top 20 after being at No. 6 in last week’s poll.


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