Millsaps College heads to the NCAA Division III Baseball World Series for the first time, and the grandson of a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer has helped the Majors reach that lofty goal.
Will Elmore, grandson of the late, great Doug Elmore, pitched a complete game, 7-0 shutout to get the Majors into the NCAA Regional championship game last Friday night. The Majors then defeated the same opponent, Salisbury (Md.) College 7-6 on Saturday to earn entrance to the Division III World Series, which begins Friday in Appleton, Wisc.
Will Elmore, a senior right-hander from Houston, scattered four hits and struck out seven in what his coach, Jim Page, called “the best performance of his career.”
Salisbury had pounded out 18 hits in defeating Millsaps 11-5 the day before in the Regional at Millington, Tenn.
“We couldn’t do anything with their hitters,” Page said. “They just pounded us. That’s what makes Will’s performance so amazing. He shut them down. He gave us a chance. He was as clutch as clutch can be. And he went all nine innings which saved the pitching we needed for the championship game.”
“Clutch” was the term teammates and coaches used to describe Doug Elmore, an Ole Miss football and baseball standout (1959-61). Elmore was an All American quarterback and an All-SEC center fielder.
Says Art Doty, one of Doug Elmore’s closest friends and a former Ole Miss teammate, “Throw Doug a ball, any kind of ball, and he could play with it. He was just a special athlete.”
Will Elmore apparently gets his versatility from his grandfather. He played both football and baseball at Clear Lake High School in Houston. At Millsaps, he has concentrated on baseball, but besides pitching, he plays any position in the infield and has played in the outfield as well.
“One of the most versatile players I’ve had in my 25 years at Millsaps,” Page said of Elmore. “He can play anywhere on the diamond and as a pitcher he has a Major League curve ball.”
Will Elmore was used mostly in relief this past season, so imagine his surprise when he got a start in his team’s do-or-die game — and not only started, but finished.
“I was hoping to go five innings and give my team a chance,” Elmore said. “I never thought about going the entire game, but my teammates got me some runs and I just kept going inning by inning until it was over.”
He threw a career-high 150 pitches.
“I was fatigued, no doubt about that, but my arm still felt strong,” Elmore said. “I guess it was just adrenaline.”
Elmore already has graduated from Millsaps with a degree in business administration and will spend this summer coaching a select 16-and-under team in Houston.
“I am going to go to culinary school,” Elmore said. “I want to be in the restaurant business. I’ve worked for Bill Latham at Babalu and Table 100 and he’s been kind of a mentor to me.”
Doug Elmore died when Will was eight years old, but the grandson has vivid and fond memories of his grandfather.
“He was always at my little league games or my peewee games,” Will Elmore said. “I heard all the stories from other people about how great he was at Ole Miss, but to me, I just remember him as being just a great grandfather, a nice man.”
Doug Elmore was all that — a splendid athlete, a nice man — and a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer.
Millsaps will play Southern Maine Friday at 10 a.m. in the first game of the D-III World Series.
Follow the Majors at www.millsaps.edu and http://gomajors.com/sports/bsb/
Millsaps will hold a viewing party Friday at 10 a.m. in the Leggett Center on campus. It’s free, open to anyone.