Dixie Youth World Series: a taste of professional baseball life

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 11, 2000

Hundreds of miles of travel. Weeks away from home. Competition nearly every night.

There are downsides to playing professional ball. The Natchez Wallace 11-12 All Stars got a taste of it this summer in their state title run and the subsequent trip to Marshall, Texas, for the Dixie Youth World Series.

But according to Nan New, the mother of player David Alton New III and wife to head coach David New Jr., any potential downsides of the experience never came into play, due primarily to the behavior of the boys and the support of their parents.

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&uot;It’s hard to live that long with that many different people,&uot; Mrs. New said, refering to the week spent at the state tournament and another week spent at the World Series. &uot;But we never had any problems with them. They all got along so well.&uot;

The team got along so well that it nearly took home the Sportsmanship Award in addition to its fourth place trophy from the Series.

&uot;I really thought you should have won that award,&uot; said Natchez Dixie Youth President Clarence Bowlin at an awards ceremony honoring the team Saturday. &uot;When we got back, I almost called and complained, but I realized that wouldn’t have been very sporting.&uot;

After months together as a team, it was odd to be back in Natchez adapting to normal life, Mrs. New said.

&uot;I miss my boys,&uot; she said. &uot;We’re like an extended family.&uot;

&uot;It’s hard to explain,&uot; coach New said. &uot;You’re going wide open for so long, and all of a sudden it stops. You feel like you should be doing something, but there’s nothing to do.&uot;

Fortunately for him and the First Baptist Church, coach New has found something to occupy his free time. Unfortunately for area baseball, he may not coach next year in order to devote more time to a Sunday School class he teaches there.

&uot;The decision had nothing to do with state, or the World Series,&uot; he said. &uot;This was something I considered long before this season ever started.&uot;

However, it does seem that this season has at least given a bit of closure to coach New’s baseball career.

&uot;I told the boys in a team meeting before the state championship that I had never been a part of a state championship team,&uot; coach New said. &uot;I had been runner-up when I was 12, the age most of these guys are now.

&uot;Runner-up is hard to swallow,&uot; he said. &uot;You always ask yourself, ‘What if I had done something a little bit different? What could I have done better?’

&uot;I told them that I wouldn’t be disappointed in them no matter what, but I didn’t want them to be disappointed in themselves,&uot; he said.

The end result was never in question, coach New said. &uot;I’ve seen the competition at the state level, and I felt this team had the ability to do it,&uot; he said.

While winning the state title was easily the high point of the season, coach New said, the low point was a little more difficult to put his finger on.

&uot;I can’t really think of any negatives,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ve coached a lot of teams, and these parents and kids came together as well as any I’ve ever coached.

&uot;The parents were very supportive,&uot; he said. &uot;You can tell through the kids if a parent is supportive, by the way they conduct themselves.

&uot;When a parent isn’t supportive, the kid can become completely uncoachable,&uot; coach New said.

&uot;We didn’t have any of that. We had a great group of kids and parents,&uot; he said, glancing at a banner proclaiming his team the 2000 Mississippi State Champions.