Palmer has USM playing sound ball

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

Southern Miss’ baseball team has been acting up lately. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s Conference USA competition or non-conference, coach Corky Palmer’s solid Golden Eagles are cutting quite a swath on the diamond.

After Sunday’s action the Eagles stood tall in league play and solid overall. There’s no telling what’s fixing to happen in the pretty town of Hattiesburg. One thing for sure: the city’s enjoying watching the Eagles make their move, because homegrown talent is leading the way. Not to pass over any of USM’s players.

After 45 games, Palmer’s USM charges stood at 34-11 overall and 17-4 in league play. That’s good baseball in a league like they’re playing. Speaking of which, junior Eagle hurler Anthony Dewitt hurled a sparkler Sunday.

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Anthony Dewitt had to hunker down in the clutches (but what winning pitcher doesn’t have to?), but he had Alabama-Birmingham grounding out and then some on Saturday in USM and Dewitt’s solid 6-3 clutch Conference USA victory at Taylor Park. The Eagles are tough at home. Or away from home.

The point is that USM appears to be a Conference USA baseball contender, and that again is what it’s all about. In reality, through 45 games, the Golden Eagles of 2003 have the best record in school history. In baseball that is.

The Natchez Democrat will continue to fill you in on the play of coach Corky Palmer’s USA baseball contender. Good, solid homegrown talent and a city and alumni really caught up in this good season, gives coach Palmer and his players a shot in the arm that just might bring them home first in the C-USA.

Meantime, they’re talkin’ it up over in Hattiesburg, and I’m hearing from it all the way to Adams County, where many USA alumni reside. Big college athletics, that’s what they are at USM.

Lee Baker was a longtime writing buddy. The lanky friend of basketball ahead of any other sport was as good of a conversationalist while covering events for the Jackson newspaper as I ever met.

Lee died last week, and oldtimers like myself will never forget him. He hit the ground running when he was on assignment, and when he got to be sports editor for the Clarion-Ledger and Daily News he demanded no less from those working under him.

Ole Lee was 78 when he died, and although it has been stated that memorials can be made to the Lee Baker Memorial Scholarship Fund at Ole Miss or the Broadmeadow Methodist, it’s mainly important to me that he just be remembered as one of the most conscientious newspapermen ever to &uot;cross typewriters&uot; with anyone. Bless his heart!

I just wanted to have one last say about my ole sportswriting buddy. I liked Lee very much, and I’ll never forget him and his old unlit cigar and friendly manner.

Incidentally, I guess you noticed that South Carolina left the Ole Miss Rebels staggering in Saturday’s 13-2 loss to the Gamecocks. Good college baseball &045; for the latter.

Even so, Ole Miss stands at 26-18 (or thereabouts) overall, and 10-10 within the SEC. If the Rebels have it to make a move, there’s of course still time for them to do it. Meantime, baseball counts in the SEC as well as football. You betcha!

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Natchez Democrat.