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Natchez Monarchs aim to be the best with year-round play

Jerome Timmons, 9, prepares to throw a baseball to a teammate during a practice for the Natchez Monarchs Wednesday afternoon. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Jerome Timmons, 9, prepares to throw a baseball to a teammate during a practice for the Natchez Monarchs Wednesday afternoon. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — To be the best team around, the Natchez Monarchs travel baseball team will start playing all year round.

The Monarchs are a team of 9- and 10-year-old boys from the T.M. Jennings baseball league hand picked by league coaches Jerome Timmons, Louis Johnson, Jonathan Ivory and T.M. Jennings commissioner DeSelle Davis.

As this is the first year of the Monarchs, Johnson said this team is different from any team that plays in the T.M. Jennings league.

“It’s not a local ball club, we go out of town and play in two and three-game tournaments,” Johnson said. “It gives them a better challenge than siting in one spot and playing the same teams over and over again.”

They received the idea to start the travel team after years of seeing the competition at the All-Stars tournament.

“These players play regular season ball and go to the All-Stars tournament and play teams that play travel-team ball and their skills are better because they play together longer. So we’re picking up on that,” Johnson said.

The Monarchs have already played in one tournament in Kosciusko.

Johnson said it allowed the coaching staff to see what the players need to work on and know what their strengths are.

“We have to learn how to pitch the ball correctly, get strikes and how to lead off the plate,” he said. “But we’re really good hitters.”

When it comes to teaching his players the fundamentals, Johnson said that will be the easy part.

“We have a bunch of good players. You tell them what to do once and you won’t have to tell them twice,” he said. “They’re very quick learners.”

Davis said he is glad he can be on the other side of baseball after being commissioner of the league for several years.

“I like coaching, I like working with kids,” Davis said. “It’s satisfaction to see the look on the children’s faces and that they’re enjoying it.”

Monarchs player Jerome Timmons said he wants to do well on his new team, but he also has his eye on the prize.

“I really want to win the state championship,” Timmons said.

Timmons said he knows he and his team have a lot they must work on before getting to the state championship game, but he said he is more than willing to work on it.

“We need to work on catching pop ups the most,” he said.