Majors were valiant; fans were avid
Jim Page’s Millsaps Majors, playing in the Division III College World Series for the first time in school history, lost 2-1 in 10 innings to Southern Maine.
The Majors lost despite a valiant pitching effort from Kosciusko senior right-hander Will Edwards, who allowed only one earned run and five hits. Edwards pitched into the 10th inning before he was injured on a freak play.
You can watch baseball for more than half a century — as I have — and still see something new in any given game. That was the case in the 10th inning Friday when Millsaps first baseman Stephen Gates fielded a sacrifice bunt, tried to throw out the runner advancing to second and instead beaned Edwards in the side of his head just above his right ear. Edwards and Gates couldn’t have been more than 10 feet apart.
It was a scary moment. But then Edwards stood up, asked for the ball and returned to the mound as if he would continue to pitch. Millsaps coach Jim Page wisely decided otherwise and brought on Harper Grier, who inherited runners at first and second with nobody out. Grier pitched well, but couldn’t keep Southern Maine, 43-8, from pushing across the go-ahead run.
Batting in the bottom of the 10th, Millsaps managed a baserunner but not a tying run.
Simply put: The Majors couldn’t catch a break. The Leggett Center crowd booed the first base umpire when he called a Majors baserunner out at first base when replays showed he beat the throw by at least a full step. Ball and strike calls from the plate umpire was jeered on a regular basis as well.
Nevertheless, it was festive purple and white crowd, on the Millsaps campus, who dined on hot dogs and hung on every pitch.
Page, a former Millsaps player, has coached Millsaps to more than 600 victories over 25 years but never to the World Series although the Majors have been close several times.
Friday’s loss drops the Majors to 38-13. They will play in an elimination game Saturday against the Ithaca-Linfield loser at 10 a.m.