Coleton Ausbern has regained his mojo this summer.

The Nettleton product is part of the Tippah County Tribe pitching staff, which is statistically the best in the Cotton States Baseball Collegiate League with a 2.84 ERA. Ausbern and the other arms give the Tribe a good shot at defending their title when the playoffs begin today at BNA Bank Park in New Albany.

The right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.08 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.

“Coleton doesn’t just throw; this kid pitches,” Tribe coach Greg Bates said. “He can come inside, outside.”

After a solid freshman season at Jones College, Ausbern struggled during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. He had an ERA of 8.22 and struck out just 12 in 23 innings. Teams hit .388 against him.

But Bates said one quality Ausbern has is mental toughness. When he gives up a hit or a run, he doesn’t pout.

“If you see anything, it’s he gets mad. And when he does that, he’s fixing to get you out of the inning,” Bates said.

Ausbern has been locating his fastball this summer, and he has a good slider. If he gets ahead in the count, batters are in trouble.

Ausbern’s fellow starters have been effective as well. Blake Dallas is 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA and 36 strikeouts, while Braden Quesinberry is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA and 38 strikeouts.

“Pitching like that and we lead the league in defense, that’s a pretty good combination,” Bates said. “We stand as good a chance as anybody.”

Tippah (12-6) will open the playoffs at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the second round versus the DeSoto Xplorers (9-7-2).

brad.locke@journalinc.com

Twitter: @bradlocke

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