The calendar has officially flipped to February and the feel of junior college baseball is in the air.
The Meridian Community College Eagles will open the 2013 home portion of its baseball schedule Tuesday afternoon at Scaggs Field against one of its longtime rivals.
East Mississippi Community College will make the short trip down Highway 45 to tangle with the Eagles in a very intriguing early season battle on the baseball diamond. The doubleheader between the Lions and the Eagles was originally scheduled to be played on the campus at EMCC, but current work on the outfield fence at the home facility of the Lions was not scheduled to be completed in time for the games with MCC.
"We are excited about Tuesday’s game because our players get excited anytime they get to play baseball on Scaggs Field,” said MCC head coach Dillon Sudduth. “Who we play doesn't really have an effect on what we do or change how we prepare to play the game. Our focus is on what we can control, which is our preparation, attitude, attention to detail, and effort. However, I do realize that playing a local college creates interest in the community and fan base so that's a positive when you talk about creating a nice game day atmosphere for our fans."
The games between the two schools should be a treat for local baseball enthusiasts, but the some of the focus will be put on both head coaches.
Dillon Sudduth enters his first season as the head baseball coach at Meridian Community College after Chris Curry left the program to become an assistant coach at Northwestern State University and the face in the visitors’ dugout will be very familiar Tuesday afternoon for fans of the green and white.
Chris Rose enters his third season as the head coach at East Mississippi Community and was head coach at Meridian Community College from 2005-2009. Rose helped guide the Eagles to a Region 23 Championship in 2009 and four MACJC Central Division Championships during his tenure. The Eagles also won a pair of MACJC State Championships (2006, 2008) during the Rose era, and Rose was also named the Region 23 Coach of the Year in 2009. Rose announced after the completion of the 2010 season that he was leaving Meridian to take the job at East Mississippi.
Sudduth served as an assistant coach for Rose during his time at Meridian, so the meeting between the two coaches has a colorful backdrop for the doubleheader at Scaggs Field.
"Obviously, I have respect for those guys but it’s about the players to me and not about the coaches. I have a pretty good idea what to expect from them since I am familiar with the coaching staff and many of their players but ultimately it comes down to who executes the best and makes the least amount of mistakes."
Sudduth remained on the staff after the hiring of Chris Curry in 2010 and was recently promoted to head coach after Curry’s departure in 2012 for Northwestern State.
The doubleheader is scheduled to begin at noon and both games will be broadcasted on the radio locally by tuning to 106.9 FM.