JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges is changing scheduling and playoff formats for the 2015 baseball season.
The association says in a news release that each junior college team in the state will play each other once in the regular season and play a 28-game schedule. Those games will be played in 14 doubleheaders. League opponents will play Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The North and South divisions will remain, with the top two teams from each division earning an automatic berth to the MACJC state playoffs. The remaining four playoff spots will go to the teams with the best league records, regardless of divisions.
The first round will be a best-of-three series, followed by a four-team state tournament to determine the conference champion.
"The biggest thing that pushed these changes was the addition of Meridian back into the league. They were put into the South Division, which made everything uneven in terms of how many conference games would be played," said Northwest Mississippi Community College baseball coach Mark Carson.
"The suggestion came up that we just play everyone in the league, and that gives everything a little variety. You don't have to play teams twice, and now it feels a little more like real college baseball."
Carson said one concern about the new format is travel time, as some schools in the state are as many as six hours away from each other.
"We've thought about this some and the coaches have brought it up to each other," Carson said. "As a former player, it is very taxing and I do think it will have an effect on us. With us being in the corner of the state, we will have our share of travel, compared to some of the other schools in the state. Everyone is going to have to do it."