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Weathersby Lives His Dream

Colby Bortles and Sikes Orvis delivered some big hits, including the go-ahead RBI triple in the 10th, but it was hard to top the heroics of Scott Weathersby.

"He's a good kid, and good things happen to good people," said head coach Mike Bianco of Weathersby. "He's a great teammate. When he goes in the game, there's not one guy on the bench who's not hoping that he's going to have success, and that helps you a lot when you're out there, when people are pulling for you, when teammates are pulling for you, when the fans are pulling for you. He's one of those kids that you hope that your kid grows up to be like."

Weathersby began his day by taking the ball from starter Sam Smith in the fifth and got an inning-ending groundout, stranding runners at first and second. Bortles tied the game in the bottom of the inning, and then the rain and nearly two-hour delay followed in the seventh. 

Washington shut down its closer, Troy Rallings, after the delay, but Bianco stayed with Weathersby through the delay.

"If anybody could do it, certainly Scott could do it," Bianco said. "He had only thrown 10 pitches, and he wasn't in the bullpen very long before he came into the game. We asked him how he felt as the delay went on. He was with Josh (Porter), and he put heat on his arm and played catch. It also helped that he was rested."

"It wasn't that bad," Weathersby said. "Josh Porter, our trainer, did an awesome job. He had a heat pad on me. He was with me the whole time, stretching me and talking me through it. It really wasn't that bad."

In his first inning after the delay, Weathersby retired the Washington side in order, including a pair of strikeouts. Washington threatened in the eighth, but he stranded two more runners with a foul out to Will Allen. The Huskies got the game-winning run to second in the ninth, and Weathersby once again got out of it, with a flyout to right, to send the game to extras.

It set up Orvis to be the the regional MVP in the 10th.

Allen drew a two-out walk, which ended the day for Washington reliever Alex Nesbitt, who worked a season-long 3.1 innings, giving up just one run on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts.

Orvis then delivered an RBI triple down the right-field line, aided by a friendly bounce off the wall in the corner, to allow Allen to score from first and give the Rebels a 3-2 lead headed to the bottom of the 10th.

"Coach (Cliff) Godwin told they had a big right-handed guy that was going to come out with fast balls," Orvis said. "I was trying to drive something, try to get the game going. He threw something over the plate, and I kind of rolled over it, but it swept down the line. It couldn't have been a better time for my first triple of the year. I had one last year. Something has to happen for me to get a triple."

With Josh Laxer standing at the ready in the Ole Miss bullpen, it was Weathersby's game. He got a ground out for the first out, then a walk, a fly out for the second out, and then worked a full count before striking out his sixth batter of the game, which tied a career.

It was a career game for the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, native, as he allowed just two hits with two walks in 5.1 scoreless innings. He also extended his scoreless streak to 16 innings, dating back to a scoreless inning of relief on April 30.

"I don't know if I thought I would, but I had always dreamed of it, when you're a little kid coming to these game," said Weathersby of getting the last out of the regional. "I came to the 2009 regional and I saw these guys play, and it was always a dream of mine to play here. To get the last out to win a regional, it's more than I can ask for."

With Louisiana-Lafayette defeating Mississippi State 5-3 to win the Lafayette Regional, Ole Miss will be on the road this weekend against the national No. 6 seed and top-ranked Ragin' Cajuns. 

So ends baseball at Swayze Field this season, which provided so many special moments, none more special than Monday's regional championship game.

"I told the players in our meeting that I haven't seen them like this since 2009, in that Monday winner-take-all game when (Drew) Pomeranz struck out the 16 guys against Western Kentucky, where you could feel the fans on the field, you could feel the fans in the dugout, you could feel the energy every time a pitch was made, not just a play or a hit," Bianco said. "Every time, especially the last few innings, you watch Scott (Weathersby), and the fans knew it. 

"We're fortunate that we have such a great fan base that cares so much about baseball. We're fortunate we have an administration here at Ole Miss that cares so much about baseball. It's a special place. It's a special place, especially in June."

Left-handed pitcher Matt Denny and right-handed pitcher Scott Weathersby both represented Ole Miss in collegiate summer baseball league all-star games Wednesday night. They are among several members of the Rebel baseball team participating in summer league ball during the offseason before returning to Ole Miss in the fall.

Weathersby plays for the Southern California Catch of the California Collegiate League. He was named to the South Division All-Star team and picked up the win, as the South All-Stars defeated the North All-Stars, 3-2. Weathersby worked a perfect fifth inning with a strikeout.

The junior right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA. He also has 23 strikeouts against six walks in 24.1 innings over seven games as both a starter and reliever. His best outing came against the Academy Barons on July 8 when he allowed just one hit with no walks and six strikeouts in five scoreless innings.

Denny plays for the Baltimore Redbirds of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. He was named to the North Division All-Star team but did not appear in the game.

The sophomore left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA, which included a 16-inning scoreless streak. He also has 21 strikeouts against eight walks in 23.2 innings over five starts. His best outing came against the Herndon Braves on June 29 when he worked six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

Another Ole Miss player who has impressed this summer has been junior right-hander Chris Ellis, who plays for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League. He ranks ninth in the league in opponents' batting average and 10th in earned run average.

Ellis is 2-2 with a 2.05 ERA. He also has 20 strikeouts against nine walks in 30.2 innings over six starts, while limiting opposing hitters to a .212 batting average. Among the six starts, he tossed six shutout innings on three separate occasions.

In his best outing, the junior right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Harwich Mariners on June 21, allowing just one unearned run on one hit with two walks and three strikeouts.


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