February 1, 2016
Since November 14, when the Mississippi College baseball team completed the final game of their second season in Division II play, there has not been a lot of outdoor athletic action. A.E. Wood Coliseum has become the prime spot for Choctaw sports. Both the MC men’s and women’s basketball seasons are currently in full swing and offer students and fans a winter-time opportunity to feed their desire for competitive.
That will not be the case for much longer, though. As the flowers begin to bloom and the grass becomes green again, one of America’s favorite pastimes will make its way to MC’s campus: baseball.
Last season was not the greatest year for the MC baseball team. In their first season transitioning to Division II competition along with the rest of the school, the Choctaws finished with a rugged record of 12-34. They were 4-28 in Gulf South Conference play and ended the season on an eight-game losing streak. But 2016 is a new year with unlimited possibilities.
With the 2016 season kicking off on February 5 at home against Tougaloo College, the Choctaws are sporting a few new faces on their team.
For starters, MC hired Jeremy Haworth as the new head coach on May 30, 2015. During a four-year stint as head coach of Ouachita Baptist University, Haworth posted a 102-96-1 record, including a 57-50 record in league play. He is entering his first season as head coach of the MC baseball team and looks to make an immediate difference.
Another significant addition is the 2015 recruiting class. The Choctaws added eight new players in their 2015 class, hailing from Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Along with a few walk-ons, the Choctaws have some young life injected into their squad this upcoming season.
Perhaps the biggest factor going into this season, though, is the group of returning players from last season. MC will have 21 players returning this season from last year’s roster. Amidst these athletes will be Hunter Bolin, who led the team last year with a .342 batting average, and Caleb Upton, who led the team with 51 hits and five homeruns last year.
The Choctaws’ schedule features their opening game at home with a three game home stand against the Tougaloo College Bulldogs. They will open Gulf South Conference play on Saturday, February 20, when they welcome the West Florida Argonauts to Frierson Field.
Over the course of the season, MC fans will see GSC opponents West Florida, West Alabama, Christian Brothers, Valdosta State, and Lee University on campus during the regular season. The Choctaws will visit Shorter, Union, West Georgia, North Alabama, UAH, and Delta State to round out their GSC schedule.
The Choctaws will play a total of 50 games in their regular season, spanning from Feb. 5 to May 1. 33 of these games will be Gulf South Conference match-ups.
MC baseball has been working hard throughout the somewhat brutal and unpredictable winter, and their regular season is just about to get underway. Students are encouraged to come out and support the team. Fans can look forward to a good season ahead for the Choctaw baseball team.
-Josh Clark, Contributing Writer
this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 7 of The Mississippi Collegian