PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast coach Rodney Batts has been serious about not looking at the standings. His first glance at the tight MACJC race came Friday when somebody jammed a piece of paper in his hand.
He sees his Bulldogs team tied for sixth with three other teams, one of which visits Ken "Curly" Farris Field on Saturday at 2 p.m. East Mississippi (22-14, 12-10 MACJC) comes to play Gulf Coast (23-15, 12-10) on Sophomore Day.
The games will be streamed online at https://livestream.com/BulldogLIVE/EMCCvsMGCCCBaseball17.
"You shouldn't have to motivate right now knowing you're down to six games," Batts said. "This game being our last home game of the regular season, we need to play well to send our sophomores off this field on a good note."
Those four teams tied for sixth are only three games behind second-place Hinds, which means there's opportunity to get on a hot streak and improve seeding.
Gulf Coast has won three straight, but faces a slightly tougher final three opponents than the others sixth-place teams. East Mississippi is the first of those.
The Lions have some players with speed in the lineup, and the Bulldogs pitching staff will concentrate on keeping them off the bases and slowing them down if they do reach.
"They're going to be solid all the way around," Batts said. "They're gonna have good arms. Their starters are good, and they'll have some quality arms coming out of the bullpen. That will be challenging."
The regular season concludes a week from Saturday. The top nine teams earn postseason berths.
Jones County, the nation's top-ranked team, needs one more win to clinch the state championship and an automatic berth in the Region 23 Tournament. That event will be hosted by the MACJC champ.
The second- through ninth-place teams will then match up 2 vs. 9, 3 vs. 8, etc., in a best-of-three regional qualifier to fill out the six-team field. LSU-Eunice fills in the field as only Louisiana school in the region.
"They know what they're playing for, what's at stake," Batts said. "It doesn't matter what anybody else does. If we go out, play well and take care of business, we'll play beyond next week."
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