Jacksonville State’s baseball team finished the regular-season tied for second in the OVC, but will be the No. 3 seed and will face No. 6 Eastern Illinois on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the opening round of the OVC Baseball Tournament in Jackson, Tenn.
Jacksonville State makes its 11th straight appearance in the OVC Tournament, making the field every year since joining the league in 2004. All of those come under the leadership of Coach Jim Case, who is in his 13th year as head coach.
Last week, Case had a chance to talk about the season with the Jacksonville Exchange Club.
“We’d rather have won the conference championship, but we’ve had an OK season,” he said. “We started out strong, then hit some bumps in the road. We’ll just try to win the tournament and represent the conference in the NCAA tournament.”
Case pointed out that the Gamecocks beat Mississippi State, 2-1, earlier this year. That was a sweet win since he spent seven years as an assistant coach there. However, the Gamecocks lost 6-1 to Alabama the next week and last week fell to the Crimson Tide, 15-10 in Jacksonville.
“There are times when you’re way up her and there are times we’re way down there,” he said. “Overall it has been a good year. We have no superstars like we have had in the past. We’re proud that we’ve had two draftees go on to the major leagues in the past five years (Todd Cunningham and Donovan Hand).
“It is the dream of every players to play Major League baseball. In truth not many will, even the very good ones. I’ve coached a lot of guys over the years and maybe 12 of those have gone on to the Major Leagues.”
Case said his team has five principles they must adopt.
The first is to study hard and go to class. That has paid off because the team have an overall 3.0-plud grade point average.
Second, they must practice hard and play hard.
Third, they must be first class on the field and in the classroom.
Fourth, they must strive for excellence in both the classroom and the field.
And fifth, treat other people as you want to be treated.
“We don’t talk about winning,” Case said. “If we live up to those principles then the winning will come.”
The Gamecocks ended the season by dropping a 12-10 decision at Morehead State. That left JSU with a 30-24 overall record and an 18-12 record in the Ohio Valley Conference.