Natchez looks to repeat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Breaking up is hard to do.

At least that&8217;s the case for the Natchez Dixie Youth 12-year-old All-Stars, who return virtually intact from last year&8217;s state championship win.

The All-Stars opened up play in the Dixie Youth Subdistrict Playoffs Thursday night, and made quick work of Brookhaven National on their turf, 14-0. They will take on either Brookhaven American or Wesson tonight at 8 p.m. The two teams met Friday, but results were unavailable at press time.

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Brothers Michael &8220;Boo&8221; and Donald &8220;Spanky&8221; Brumfield are coaching this year&8217;s team, and neither would be surprised to see another

run to state.

&8220;We&8217;re definitely stronger (than last year),&8221; said Boo Brumfield. &8220;We&8217;re deeper from one to 13 than we were last year. We can just about put any lineup out there and beat somebody. The hardest part is figuring out which ones to put there. We have four strong pitchers that are really bringing it. That fact helps us save our best pitchers for the toughest opponents. We&8217;re also hitting the ball well.&8221;

Spanky Brumfield, in his first year coaching the team, said his main concern this season has been to instill discipline at the plate.

&8220;I&8217;ve been working on hitting with them,&8221; he said. &8220;I don&8217;t want them to swing at so many bad balls.&8221;

In an era when coaches can sometimes serve as part-time baby-sitters, Spanky Brumfield said his team was easy to work with.

&8220;This is a good bunch of boys,&8221; he said. &8220;They love baseball, and if you don&8217;t think so you should see them when I tell them practice is over.&8221;

Last year&8217;s state title may be hanging on the press box of the Duncan Park field, but it&8217;s not hanging on the minds of the All-Stars, according to Spanky Brumfield.

&8220;That&8217;s not a problem,&8221; he said. &8220;Last year was good, but it don&8217;t mean nothing now.&8221;