The Dart: Baseball hitting sessions serve as longtime tradition for father, son

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 21, 2005

VIDALIA, La. &045; For David Ozburn and son David Ozburn Jr., batting sessions aren’t just a weekend pastime &045; they’re practically a tradition for the pair.

On Sunday afternoon, The Dart found father and son in the batting cage at Vidalia’s ballfields, getting in some practice before the rain that threatened to fall.

&uot;I’m surprised, with baseball just getting kicked off, that more people aren’t out here trying to get some practice in,&uot; Ozburn Sr., of Natchez, marveled between pitches.

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Reaching into a deep bucket of baseballs, Ozburn Sr. threw dozens of pitches to his son, who only struck only a couple of times, usually hitting the ball with a sharp crack. In fact, a hard-hit ball would occasionally escape the net hard enough to almost bean a spectator.

Such practiced pitches and swings are perhaps not surprising, considering they’ve been doing this a while.

Ozburn Jr., now 15, has played baseball ever since 5 years of age, when he joined his first T-ball team. He now mans third base for Cathedral School’s team.

And ever since he started, his father has taken time out to throw some pitches &045; including, in his son’s younger days, a stint as the official &uot;pitching dad&uot; of his son’s team.

Ozburn Sr. knows the importance of practice, having played in Dixie Boys and Dixie Youth leagues in his youth. But judging by the look of pride on his face, he may be having just as much fun sharing a little at-bat time with his son.

&uot;We’ve been doing this a while,&uot; Ozburn Sr. said with a smile before turning back to pitch a few more baseballs.