CLINTON, Miss. — With the start of the 2021 baseball season right around the corner, the Gulf South Conference has released its preseason coaches’ poll, players to watch and top newcomers for the season.
Mississippi College was tabbed fifth in a vote by the conference’s head coaches. MC finished the 2020 abbreviated campaign tied for fourth following a 6-3 record in the conference and 11-9 overall. The Choctaws did garner a first-place vote in the poll.
Selected among the players to watch for the Navy and Gold were infielder Dylan Duplechain and left-handed pitcher Bryce Lewis.
Duplechain, who redshirted in 2020, started all 45 games for the Choctaws in 2019 and led the squad in runs and stolen bases. He finished second on the team in hits and was third in doubles and triples as he finished fifth on the team in batting average. The Mamou, La., native is one of two players that remains from the 2018 GSC Championship team. Brewer Hendrix joined Duplechain as a member of the squad.
Lewis, a Moody, Ala., native, made seven appearances along with one start in his first season with the Choctaws last year. The redshirt sophomore concluded the 2020 campaign as the team leader in ERA and was tied for tops on the squad in wins. He finished second in opponent batting average and was fifth in strikeouts and innings.
Among the new faces on the club are Division I transfers Alex Hay and Dylan Marsh. Hay makes his way to Clinton from Austin Peay State University while Marsh is a transfer from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Hay hit .298 for the Governors in 2020 in 47 at-bats. He logged 14 hits while driving in 10 runs. The former Lewisburg High School product began his collegiate career at East Central (Miss.) Community College where he hit .305 for his two-year career with 58 hits with 52 RBI. Hay is from Hernando, Miss.
Marsh struck out 18 in 22.2 innings in his one season at ULM. Prior to his time with the Warhawks, the former Lake Cormorant High School hurler played two seasons at ECCC, where he went 9-7 with five saves and a 3.26 ERA along with 110 strikeouts. Marsh hails from Lake Cormorant, Miss.
The University of West Florida was tabbed as the top team in the conference as the Argonauts gathered five, first-place votes and totaled 133 points from the coaches. The University of Alabama in Huntsville was picked second and collected the most first-place votes with six, but finished three points behind UWF.
In-state foe Delta State University was selected third with 114 points. The Statesmen are the only team in the top five to not garner a first-place vote from the coaches in the league. Valdosta State University picked up the remaining first-place nod and collected 112 points.
Lee University was selected sixth followed by the University of West Georgia, the University of Montevallo, Shorter University and Auburn University at Montgomery. The University of West Alabama was tabbed 11th while Union (Tenn.) University and Christian Brothers University rounded out the final two spots in the 13-team league.
Teams received 12 points for a first-place vote, 11 for a second-place vote, etc. The head coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Mississippi College opens the 2021 season on Saturday, Feb. 6 as it travels to Valdosta, Ga., for a three-game series against the Blazers. First pitch of the Saturday twinbill is tabbed for a Noon central start. Sunday’s finale is marked for Noon central as well.
The Mississippi College softball team has been predicted to finish 5th in the Gulf South Conference preseason poll, it was announced on Thursday (Jan. 28).
The Lady Choctaws went 15-9 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, notching a 6-3 GSC mark.
On top of the preseason poll, the Preseason All-GSC Team was also released, along with the Top Newcomers List, recognizing the top two newcomers from all 13 schools.
Sophomore Avery Barnett earned a nod on the Preseaon All-GSC Team after going 7-2 with a 1.23 earned run average in her rookie season. She led the squad in wins, complete games (7) and shutouts (2) and tied for the GSC lead in wins and was 3rd in ERA.
Junior Brooke Fagan (Kiln, Miss.) and freshman McCall Lee (Brandon, Miss.) were named to the Top Newcomer List. Fagan was an All-State and All-Region performer for Pearl River CC. Lee was a two-time All-State selection and a three-time All-District selection at Brandon High School.
The Lady Choctaws are scheduled to open the 2021 season this weekend when they travel to Mobile, Ala. for the UM Classic, hosted by the University of Mobile. MC will face #19 Lubbock Christian (3:00pm) and Mobile (5:00pm) on Friday (Jan. 29) before playing Mobile (11:00am) and West Alabama (1:00pm) on Saturday (Jan. 30).