An unforgettable opportunity

Published 12:03 am Sunday, August 8, 2010

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 12 local boys began an experience that not a lot of people get to have.

They have the opportunity to be called the best 12-year-old baseball team in all of Dixie Youth baseball.

The Natchez 12-year-old All-Star team has already won sub-district, district, south state and state tournaments, and now are looking to win a Dixie Youth World Series championship.

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This is only the fourth Natchez team to advance to the Dixie Youth World Series. Natchez teams also accomplished the feat in 1992, 2000 and 2003.

For some of the Natchez players, this year’s World Series will be just the beginning of a great baseball career. For others, it will be the pinnacle of their baseball playing days.

One of my favorite parts of The Democrat sports section is the Looking Backs on page 2B.

I enjoy reading about what what going on five, 10 and 20 years ago on each date.

With this being the summer, there have been a lot of All-Star baseball moments in the Looking Backs section recently.

It’s fun seeing all the recognizable names like Timmy Foster, Jarrett Hoffpauir and Kendall Logan perform great feats for their youth All-Star baseball teams.

I have a feeling that in five, 10 and 20 years people will be looking back at this team and seeing names that have gone on to great things in high school, college and perhaps even professional sports.

But that is a long way off in the distance. For now, the players on the Natchez 12-year-old All-Star team are just living a great experience they will have the rest of their lives.

Beginning with the police and fire escort they had out of Natchez Friday morning and the Dixie Youth World Series opening ceremonies they participated Friday night to their first game against Tennessee on Saturday night, every experience is one they’ll never forget.

Even if they don’t win the tournament, or even win a game, they still can call themselves Mississippi state champions and one of the 12 best teams in the Dixie Youth Baseball organization.

These 12 players have really gelled into a team during the six weeks they have been together.

They got off to a rocky start, getting hammered by Concordia Parish in a practice game before the sub-district tournament began, but since that point, they have come together and turned themselves into a great team.

And not only are they a great team, they are also a gritty one as well.

They lost early in the south state tournament, which put them in the loser’s bracket. But they didn’t let that bother them, as they came back to win the rest of their games and take the championship.

They also suffered a loss in the state tournament, but once again came back strong, defeating Magee 11-3 the very next night to claim the state championship.

So no matter what happens in the Dixie Youth World Series, this team has accomplished quite a lot.

They have made memories that will last a lifetime and proved they are one of the best teams in the Southeast.

And they have certainly made Natchez proud.

So good luck in the World Series, guys. We’ll be rooting for you.