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Ballard to play in All-Star game Saturday

NATCHEZ — Tyler Ballard never got to play at Trustmark Park during his baseball career at Cathedral, but thanks to his outstanding senior season, he finally gets a chance to play in the professional facility.

Ballard, the Green Wave’s first baseman, was selected to play in the 36th annual D.M. Howie High School All-Star Baseball Class 1A-3A Game, under the operation of the Mississippi Association of Coaches.

The game will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday at the home of the Mississippi Braves in Pearl.

Ballard is the only Cathedral player on the team, and had some fun with the three members of the St. Aloysius Flashes on the team, after St. Al denied Ballard a chance to play the state finals at Trustmark the past two years by beating them in the playoffs.

“I told the St. Al kids, ‘You’ve had your turn (to play at Trustmark. Now it’s my turn to get on the field,’” Ballard said. “It’s a treat to get to play here.”

Ballard hit .474 with 10 home runs, 12 doubles and 46 RBIs in his senior season, leading the Green Wave in all offensive categories.

“He was the one we counted on offensively his junior and senior year,” Cathedral baseball coach Craig Beesley said. “He hit 10 home runs this year, which for playing half of his games at Liberty Park is pretty good.”

Beesley said that for a power hitter, Ballard also had good plate discipline.

“Not only was he a power hitter, but he didn’t strike out a lot,” Beesley said. “He always put the ball in play. We would always depend on him with runners in scoring position, and more than not, he would come through. We will definitely be missing Tyler on offense next year.”

Each coach can nominate three or four senior players to play in the MAC All-Star game, and a selection committee culls through each nomination and selects the team.

“Ballard said making the team was one of his goals going into his senior season.

“This means a lot to me,” Ballard said. “It makes you feel good that people have recognized your talent. I feel respected and lucky.”