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Talented youth teams keeping us busy

The summer is normally a slow period for the sports section, with school being out and no high school sports being played.

Usually we are hunting for even just one or two stories a day to run in the sports section during this time of year.

But not this year. This year there has been an overabundance of stories.

And the reason for that is the excellent baseball and softball talent in the Miss-Lou.

This is my third summer at The Democrat, and I can’t remember a time where there was this many baseball and softball all-star teams still playing in tournaments this late into July.

Our local teams aren’t just participating in these all-star tournaments, they are thriving.

Most teams are eliminated in sub-district play, and still more others are eliminated in the district tournament.

But there are an amazing amount of teams from the Miss-Lou that have advanced to either south state or state tournaments. And they’re still going strong.

There are four Natchez teams that have advanced to either south state or state, with the Natchez Dixie Youth 11 and 12 year-old teams playing in the South State tournament at Magee this week.

And judging from their performances in their first games on Friday, they might not be finished at the south state level.

The 11-year-old team won a state championship when they were 7, and they are hankering for another one this year.

But the 12-year-old team has been impressive as well, running through the sub-district and district tournaments outscoring their opponents by over 60 total runs.

But it’s not just the Dixie Youth teams in Natchez that are moving on.

The T.M. Jennings league has two teams heading to the state tournament as well.

The 9-10-year-old team and the 11-12-year-old team romped through the district tournament last weekend and will be starting their Little League State tournament next weekend on the coast.

Neither team had much practice time before the district tournament, but it didn’t make much difference as they easily won their respective tournaments, with only one game even being relatively close.

The baseball and softball talent also extends to the other side of the river.

Concordia Parish has put several baseball and softball teams in the state tournament.

The Concordia Dixie Youth league has three teams in the state tournament, with the 9-year-olds, 12-year-olds and 13-year olds all competing for a state championship.

Several Vidalia Little League softball teams are also competing for a state championship, and after winning their tournament opening games on Friday, those teams are a pretty good bet to win state.

All the winning makes for a pretty busy time for the sports department, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s a great credit to the young men and women and their coaches that the Miss-Lou teams are having this much success on the state level.

So congratulations to all the all-star teams for the success, and good luck the rest of the way.

Hopefully you will keep me busy for quite a while longer.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor for The Democrat. He can be reached at sports@natchezdemocrat.com, or by phone at 601-445-3632.

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