The Dart: Family steps up to the plate in backyard

Published 12:04 am Monday, April 13, 2015

Deren Moffitt pitches the ball to his son Brayden Moffett, 8, while Alyssa Aucoin, 8, Presleigh Moffett, 10, and Paxton Moffett, 3, play in the field in the family’s backyard Saturday. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Deren Moffitt pitches the ball to his son Brayden Moffett, 8, while Alyssa Aucoin, 8, Presleigh Moffett, 10, and Paxton Moffett, 3, play in the field in the family’s backyard Saturday. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — The arrival of spring brings with it much change.

The cool and sometimes unbearable weather of winter slowly becomes the mild and breezy weather of spring and with it comes new life.

Amongst all that change, one constant exists — baseball and softball.

For the Moffett family, the sport and the season go hand in hand.

“We start preparing for baseball weeks before the season starts,” Candi Moffett said.

When The Dart landed on Lee Avenue in Vidalia on Saturday, the Moffetts had just finished their venison burgers and were starting a game amongst themselves in their backyard.

“In the spring, we are either here in the backyard or at the ball field,” Candi said.

Candi sits on the porch with her and her husband, Deren Moffett’s, youngest child Audrey Cate Moffett, 15 months, and watches the other children take turns hitting balls from Deren.

The children include Brayden, 8, Presleigh, 10, and Paxton Moffett, 3, and Alyssa Aucoin, 8. Each are more excited than the last when making contact with the ball.

“Baseball’s all I played when I was a kid,” Deren said. “But Candi is the all-star.”

“That was a long time ago,” Candi modestly interjected.

She used to play a lot of softball for her late father, Steve Kirk, and earned some accolades along the way. Now, she coaches Alyssa’s teams.

“We love the game, and we want them to love it too,” Candi said.

With exception of Audrey Cate, who is too young, all their children play baseball or softball in leagues around Natchez or Vidalia.

For their second youngest, Paxton, the game offered an energy outlet.

“Our house is crazy, but he (Paxton) is crazy man,” Deren said.

Paxton, who turns 4 years old in a matter of months, is rambunctious to say the least. He hit the terrible twos and just kept going.

“Earlier today, Paxton had his first weeball game,” Candi said. “We wanted to get him going early and to tire him out.”

And it worked for a time, but before they knew it he was up from his nap and running all around the backyard with the other four children.

Like baseball and softball, the craziness is a constant.

“It keeps things entertaining,” Deren said.