Mike Jacobs has been a fixture on the local college baseball scene for many years. A four-year letterman under the legendary Eddie Stanky at the University of South Alabama, he got his first coaching notice in the high school ranks after leading UMS-Wright to the 1988 state championship.
His skills were soon recognized by the University of Mobile administration. Jacobs has now been at the helm of the Rams’ baseball team for 28 years.
During that stretch, his squad has won seven conference titles. In 2001, UM advanced to the NAIA World Series. Along the way, 35 of his former players have signed professional contracts. In 2011, the school named the baseball field after Jacobs.
The latest highlight to his resume came toward the end of the current season. After the Rams defeated Martin Methodist 6-1, it marked the 900th career coaching victory for Jacobs since beginning the baseball program in 1990.
“Nine hundred wins is a testament of how quality of a coach he is,” UM Athletic Director Joe Niland said. “Being able to win at that consistency over a long period of time and at the same university is unique.”
Prior to a three-game set versus Faulkner University, UM President Dr. Tim Smith and Niland presented Jacobs with a plaque honoring the achievement.
“I was very surprised, humbled and honored by the presentation of the beautiful plaque from Joe Niland and Dr. Smith,” Jacobs said after the victory. “Nine hundred wins only come if you have athletes and coaches that buy into your philosophy of winning. I have been truly blessed with both, as well as the support of the university itself and our biggest fan, Joy, my wife. Hopefully we will continue on for many more.”
Steven Kelley, a UM alumni and founder of Love Builds custom carpentry, created the unique plaque for Jacobs.
“This university is blessed to have a great coach and a great man,” Niland said. “I’ve enjoyed close to 20 years working with him. Coach Jacobs represents everything that UM represents.”
The Rams finished their latest season 37-21 overall and 13-11 in Southern States Athletic Conference action.
Mc-T girls win soccer title
For four straight years, the girls’ soccer team at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School were eliminated in the semifinal round of the Class 7A playoffs. That all changed this season, as the Lady Jackets won their first state title following a 2-0 victory over defending champion Vestavia Hills.
After a scoreless first half, Angelina Piccini and Chloe Martin got the decisive goals. Eva Knapstein then sealed the deal by making eight saves. The senior goalkeeper was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Mc-T, which beat Fairhope 3-2 in the semifinals, finishes with a 23-2 record.
Bulldogs defend baseball trophy
UMS-Wright captured its second straight Class 4A baseball title after defeating Madison Academy 5-1 in the final game of a best-of-three series. Sam Plash was 4-for-4 at the plate (double, 3 singles, 2 RBIs) to be named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Brant Dixon got the final victory on the mound.
This was the Bulldogs’ 10th overall baseball title. UMS-Wright finished with a 28-13 record. Madison Academy had won the previous three Class 3A titles before moving up in classification this year.
Championships just out of reach
• The boys’ soccer team from Davidson High School tried to bring home another trophy to Mobile County. However, the squad lost 2-1 to Oak Mountain in the Class 7A final. After Griffin Tucker’s goal with two minutes left in regulation tied the game, the teams were scoreless through two overtimes. Oak Mountain decided the contest by a 3-0 edge in penalty kicks. This marks the third straight state title for Oak Mountain.
• The Class 5A baseball finals went to a decisive third game. The results were not favorable as Faith Academy lost 7-4 to Russellville. It was a rematch of last year’s final, as Russellville has now won three consecutive championships. Faith Academy ends the year with a 30-8 record.
• In the Class 6A softball title game, Hazel Green defeated Daphne 4-2. Daphne had lost to Gardendale in the second round before winning four straight games — including a 4-0 win over Hazel Green — to force the final showdown. The Lady Trojans ended the year with a 50-7 record.
• Gulf Shores hosted the Class 7A to 4A outdoor track and field championships. Local schools finishing among the top 10 in the final standings were Baker (boys 10th in Class 7A), Blount (boys 7th in Class 6A), McGill-Toolen (boys 3rd and girls 4th in Class 7A), St. Paul’s Episcopal (boys and girls 2nd in Class 5A), Spanish Fort (girls 4th in Class 6A) and UMS-Wright (girls 4th in Class 4A).
• Cullman hosted the track meet for Class 3A to 1A. Local teams competing were Bayside Academy (girls 3rd and boys 9th in Class 3A), Mobile Christian (boys 3rd and girls 6th in Class 3A) and St. Luke’s (girls 8th in Class 2A).
The list of individual winners from Class 7A to 1A is too long for this column. To see these names, visit www.ahsaa.com/Sports/Outdoor-Track-Field.
Free fishing day June 10
As part of National Fishing and Boating Week (June 3-11), Alabama residents and visitors will have the opportunity to fish for free in most public waters — both freshwater and saltwater — without a license.
“Free Fishing Day is the perfect opportunity for non-anglers to test the fishing waters and to remind former anglers of all the fun they’ve been missing,” said Nick Nichols, fisheries section chief for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.
To find a fishing spot, visit http://outdooralabama.com/where-fish-alabama.
Jaguars represented in NFL
A third member of the University of South Alabama football team has signed a contract with the National Football League.
Defensive end/linebacker Randy Allen inked a deal with the Baltimore Ravens following a tryout. Allen was first-team all-Sun Belt Conference after leading USA with 19 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He joins former teammates Gerald Everett (drafted by Los Angeles Rams) and Josh Magee (free agent with Atlanta Falcons) in the NFL. Hoping to join them are Roman Buchanan (Falcons) and Kalen Jackson (Rams), both of whom have been offered tryouts.