The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

May 15, 2013

Lions open regional play against top-seeded Minnesota State

For most of March and April, Minnesota State endured a long winter as it gradually made its case for the home-field advantage that goes along with being the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II Central Region baseball tournament.

In a matter of a few days, a big part of the Mavericks’ home landscape changed. Warmer weather, including a temperature of 97 degrees at 5 p.m. Tuesday, has removed the snow cover in Mankato, where the Mavericks call home.

“We were hoping to show you the Minnesota way of life here but, unfortunately, we won’t have any snow for you,” said Mavericks head coach Matt Magers.

With a tournament field that includes Missouri Southern and Southern Arkansas, the heat wave is unwelcome for Minnesota State and its conference rival to the north, St. Cloud State. Temperates are forecast to be near 80 degrees each day in the double-elimination tournament, which runs through Sunday.

No. 6 seed Missouri Southern (34-20) faces Minnesota State (35-8) in the first round at 7 p.m. today. During the heat of the day, other first-round games pit Southern Arkansas against Missouri Western at noon and Central Missouri against St. Cloud State at 3:30 p.m.

Live audio and live video streaming will be available free at www.mssulions.com.

From April 18 until April 27, the Mavericks had eight games cancelled because of snow and cold weather. A three-game series at Truman State scheduled for the first week of May also was wiped out.

“Last year, we played 63 games,” Magers said.

Through it all, Minnesota State has relied on an experienced, deep pitching staff that broke the school record for strikeouts per nine innings and a defense that set a school record for fielding percentage.

“We knew these guys would be reliable guys for us,” Magers said. “It’s a veteran pitching staff. We had a couple of question marks for a set-up man and a fifth starter, but those have been filled by juniors.”

The Mavericks’ starting rotation is led by right-handers Harvey Martin (7-0) and Jason Hoppe (7-1), who both have ERAs below 2.00.

Martin, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior, is among 40 semifinalists for the Tino Martinez Award as the player of the year in Division II. Mahlon Zimmerman, a senior right-hander, is the Mavericks’ top relief pitcher.

Offensively the Mavericks are averaging nearly seven runs per game, led by catcher Nolan Johnson (.353), third baseman Connor McCallum (.345) and second baseman Lucas Skjefte (.342).

Defensively, the Mavericks have a school-record fielding percentage of .981 and have allowed 20 stolen bases in 37 attempts.

Minnesota State, which won the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament, has played only six games this season at home, where they are 6-0. The series against Truman State was the Mavericks’ only MIAA opponent on their schedule.

Missouri Southern, batting .301 as a team, is led by right fielder Dallas Burke (.350), second baseman Michael McCoy (.341), who leads the team in hits (75) and total bases (101), and catcher Sam Ryan (.332), who leads the Lions in doubles (16) and RBI (38).

The Lions’ starting pitchers are senior left-hander Brett Abell (5-3), who has a school-record 105 strikeouts; junior right-handers Ryan Bates (8-2) and Drew Noble (7-3) and freshman left-hander Payton Walker (6-5).

“We don’t see MIAA teams very often,” Magers said. “All we know about them (Missouri Southern) is what we read and through social media.

“They’re a scrappy baseball team and have to be one of the hottest teams coming into the tournament after they won their tournament,” he said. “Whether you’re seeded No. 1 or No. 6, ultimately the team that can get hot up here for four games is the team that’s going to win it.”

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • 041814 EPA projects5_72.jpg Contaminated mine tailings could be used on west bypass

    About 500 acres of former mining land at Wildwood Ranch have been reclaimed by contractors working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More than 1 million cubic yards of contaminated mine tailings in the form of chat and waste rock have been consolidated in a surface repository that someday could be part of the roadbed for a limited-access highway that transportation planners hope to build on the west side of Joplin.

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • Joplin City Council to hear baseball plan details

    Proposed redevelopment plans for Joe Becker Stadium will be discussed with the Joplin City Council in a work session at the end of its regular meeting tonight. The WLD Suarez partnership has obtained a franchise of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball that succeeds the El Paso (Texas) Diablos.

    April 20, 2014

  • Money to area lawmakers slows down but doesn’t stop

    With the Legislature back in session, the flow of campaign cash to local candidates has slowed. But in this election year, the money did not completely stop. All members of the local delegation to the Missouri General Assembly are on the ballot this year, but only two lawmakers are facing opposition.

    April 20, 2014

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014