T.M. Jennings All-Stars split pair with Dixie Youth All-StarsPublished 12:08am Thursday, June 28, 2012
NATCHEZ — Natchez’s two youth baseball leagues came together as one Wednesday night to prepare their athletes for all-star action.paused
The T.M. Jennings 11- and 12-year-old All-Star team played separate four-inning games against the Natchez Dixie Youth 11-year-old and Natchez Dixie Youth 12-year-old All-Star teams.
The Dixie Youth 12-year-olds took the first game 13-3, and T.M. Jennings won the second game 10-3 over the Dixie Youth 11-year-olds, but all three coaching staffs said the games were not about winning and losing.
“I think tonight was a big step in the right direction to hopefully combining the two leagues,” Natchez Dixie Youth 12-year-old coach Cole Brown said. “We are stronger and more united than ever. For too long we’ve been divided for whatever reason, and they have athletes of the same caliber as our kids. Kudos to coach (Ernest) Woods and (T.M. Jennings director Deselle) Davis.”
T.M. Jennings coach Ernest Woods said the game was a great experience for his players as well.
“I love it,” he said. “We want to try to do it every week. I’m just superiorly happy, and it was something we’ve tried for all along.”
Brown said he thought his team played well in its 13-3 victory in the opening game.
“It allowed us to see what work we have to do,” he said. “We liked what we saw overall. It’s a chance for me to see what guys do in real game scenarios and work on the little things.”
The Dixie Youth squad took advantage of a huge second inning that saw starting pitcher Marshall Edmonds hit two home runs, including a grand slam.
The Dixie Youth team scored 11 runs in the inning on five hits and five walks.
The T.M. Jennings All-Stars managed a run in each of the first three innings, and Woods said overall his team played well given the fact that the T.M. Jennings regular season ended Tuesday night.
“They did OK,” Woods said. “We just finished our season (Tuesday) night and just told them the (all-star) team at 8:30 p.m. So they were tired, and we’ve had no practice.”
Woods said his team is going through the process of turning opponents into teammates.
“We just have to jell together,” he said. “They’ve been enemies all season, from April until June. But now we have to come together.”
Edmonds’ two homers and six RBIs led the Dixie Youth team offensively. Josh Day finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Shavoke Herrington started the game off with a double for T.M. Jennings, and Tyler Harris and Jaylon Pollard each singled in the game.
The Dixie Youth team will start its sub-district play July 8. T.M. Jennings will start July 12.
T.M. Jennings 10, Dixie Youth 11s 3
The T.M. Jennings All-Stars regrouped after their loss to the Dixie Youth 12s to put up 10 runs and top the Dixie Youth 11s in Wednesday night’s second game.
Willie Johnson, Jay Kelly and Harris each collected two hits for T.M. Jennings, and Harris and Ernest Woods Jr. each homered.
T.M. Jennings tallied five runs in the opening frame, and Dixie Youth head coach David Lindsey said his team started slow.
“We were shaky in the first inning, but in the second we looked better,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey said his goal in the practice game was to test his team’s defense.
“We are trying to get our pitchers to throw strikes and our defense to make plays,” he said. “I’m not too worried about the pitchers throwing strikes, but I’m worried about the defense.”
Lindsey said it was good to get his players on the field playing a game instead of just practicing every day.
“I threw batting practice for two hours yesterday and almost had a heat stroke,” he said. “It gets us out of the monotony, and they are having a good time playing.”
The Natchez 11s will start sub-district play July 6.