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12-year-old McDonald showcases skills in Orlando event

Rhet McDonald, 12, recently returned from the Stars and Stripes Winter World Championship  in Orlando, Fla. McDonald went 6-of-9 in the tournament with two doubles and four RBIs. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Rhet McDonald, 12, recently returned from the Stars and Stripes Winter World Championship in Orlando, Fla. McDonald went 6-of-9 in the tournament with two doubles and four RBIs. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — While most were relaxing over the holidays, Rhet McDonald was busy running the bases in Orlando.

Arriving on the scene to participate in the Stars and Stripes Winter World Championship on Dec. 26, McDonald was shuffled in the mix with other 12 year olds from South Carolina, North Carolina, Minnesota and Florida for a five-day event. Before being selected by a coach, McDonald participated in a skills competition with his age group, and then was picked by former Notre Dame baseball player Steve Skupien.

“It was cool because we got to play against Brian Jordan’s team,” said McDonald, who received compliments from the former Atlanta Braves star after playing against him.

Jordan wasn’t the only person in attendance that McDonald impressed. Though he went winless on his trip — Skupien’s team went 0-4 — McDonald produced a strong batting average and drove home runners. McDonald finished going 6-for-9 with two doubles and four RBIs.

“After the coaches evaluation and skill scores, I was chosen to participate on the All-American team next fall, which meant a lot after putting in hard work with Nook (Logan) and (Shaun McDonald),” said McDonald who practices regularly with both.

Defensively he showcased his versatility by playing shortstop, pitcher and catcher. Pitching in three innings, McDonald struck out seven, walked two and allowed one run on one hit. That hit was a bomb Peter Werth, who hit multiple home runs for his team.

“Rhet was trying to walk him,” said Shaun McDonald, Rhet’s father, laughing as he recalled it. “The count was 3-0, and the final ball was in the other batter’s box, but (Peter) stepped up and hit it over the fence.”

Rhet nor Shaun have decided if Rhet will participate in the All-American events next fall. That’s on the backburner for the family anyway. After all, Rhet is busy preparing alongside a group of kids he’s more familiar with at Delta Charter. As baseball season inches closer for the Storm, Rhet hopes to replicate the same type of success he had in Orlando.