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Cathedral’s Upton plays in All-Star game

PEARL — Caleb Upton played baseball with new teammates in a new city Saturday, and the experience left him thinking outside the box, he said.

But when he was inside the box — the batter’s box, that is — Upton’s focus was solely on the game of baseball.

Upton played for the South squad in the MHSAA Classes 1-3A All-Star game in Pearl Saturday afternoon, going 0-for-1 with a walk and throwing out a runner at second base on defense. The North squad won 13-10.

The biggest thing that stood out to him was getting to know the other players from around the state, Upton said. Being able to interact with All-Star caliber players from different parts of the state was an eye-opener, he said.

“I’ve been here since Thursday meeting with everyone and learning about them,” Upton said. “It’s been a real growing experience. It’s cool finding out who all’s here and where everyone’s going (to college).”

For the most part, Upton said the other players are pretty down-to-earth.

“You have some guys with the big head for sure, but most of them are just down-home good guys,” Upton said. “They just have a talent for baseball. College coaches don’t really take the ones who go out and mess around. They’re all generally pretty good guys.”

Upton played four innings in the game, and afterward he said the game seemed kind of relaxed.

“I had fun playing baseball in a nice stadium in Trustmark Park,” Upton said. “We played ball, but we had a lot of fun with it.”

In his one instance of making contact, Upton grounded into a double play trying to force a pitch to the right, he said.

“I ended up hitting it right to the second baseman,” Upton said. “I was like, ‘Get to first, get to first,’ but I was out by a step or two.”

Upton said it was an honor to have been selected, and getting to play with so many talented players was a humbling experience.

“Seeing all the good players that are here and knowing that I’m considered good among all these good players, it’s makes me feel really good,” Upton said.

He also said it’s been nice to represent Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley and the Green Wave program on a state level.

“It’s pretty important to get my school’s name out there,” Upton said. “I just wanted to come up here and represent well, and lead the way for future picks.”

Beesley said Upton’s selection was well-deserved.

“I’m proud of what he’s accomplished over the three years,” Beesley said. “We’ve had kids make it to the All-Star game before, and I’m glad we were able to send him.”

Beesley said Upton’s leadership ability and his hitting is what sets him apart as a player.

“He’s a good line-drive, gap hitter,” Beesley said. “He can hit it on the backside as well as pull it. He’s able to hit all pitches, whether they’re outside or inside, and drive the ball into the gap.”

Upton will attend Hinds Community College in the fall on a baseball scholarship.