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Natchez 12s get big sendoff as they ready for World Series

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Dixie Youth 12-year-old All-Star team got a send off that was quite star worthy.

The team, which won the Mississippi Dixie Youth state championship last week, departed Natchez Friday morning for Gonzales, La., where the Dixie Youth World Series will be played.

But it wasn’t your normal departure. This one included two sheriff’s department cars and a fire truck.

The players, parents and friends gathered at Sports Center Friday morning where they decorated their cars and enjoyed a complimentary breakfast before departing in a 16-car caravan behind a police escort, horns honking and sirens blaring.

“It feels great to get a sendoff like this,” Natchez player Christopher White said. “We just hope the Natchez people can come down and support us.”

The Natchez team participated in the tournament’s opening ceremonies Friday night and will begin their World Series by taking on the Tennessee champions at 7:30 p.m. today.

And White, like all the other players, is raring to get it started.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” White said. “There’s no nervousness in me or anyone else. We’re ready to go after that trophy.”

Natchez coach Terry Moffett said after a lackluster practice Monday, the team has focused in on the World Series.

“The kids still had their feet off the ground on Monday and we had to challenge them pretty good,” Moffett said. “But from Tuesday on the practices have been good.”

Moffett said getting the players focused for the tournament hasn’t been difficult.

“I just told the kids to take it all in and enjoy it,” Moffett said. “I asked the kids if any of them had dreamed about being in a World Series. No one answered so I said, ‘Start dreaming now buddy.’”

Margaret Beesley, whose son Andrew plays shortstop for Natchez, said her son will be living his dream this week.

“Andrew would see the (Little League) World Series on TV and say, ‘I’m going to be playing in that one day,’” Beesley said. “This may not be the one that’s on TV, but his dream has come true, and as a parent you can’t be any more proud.”

And Friday’s noisy escort out of town is just the beginning of the team’s World Series experience.

“Natchez and the surrounding community has really poured in a lot of support for this team and I can’t thank them enough,” Moffett said. “To have this escort out of town, that is something the kids will always remember.”

This is the third Natchez team to make the Dixie Youth World Series.

Natchez teams also competed in the World Series in 1992 and 2003.

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