6-year-old coach pitch league still a possibility

Published 12:06 am Friday, July 1, 2016

NATCHEZ — Six-and-under Natchez Dixie Youth baseball has long been reserved for playing T-ball, but an all-star team this summer may change that.

Ron Bequette headed up a 6-and-under team that competed in a coach-pitch tournament June 24 in McComb, testing the waters for potentially adding a league similar to Natchez Dixie Youth in the coming years.

Bequette said the experience proved beneficial for the kids.

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“We did as well as we possibly could,” Bequette said. “(The McComb teams) have been playing coach-pitch all year. There is only so much you can do in two-and-a-half weeks, but they practiced hard and did their best in the games.”

Bequette started his squad out in the practice sessions using a pitching machine to get the kids adjusted to having a pitch thrown at them. The all-star team’s head man said there was a noticeable difference to where his players were when they first got together to the last practice.

“There was a lot of excitement,” Bequette said. “They were a little intimidated the first couple of practices. They really started hitting toward the end. I think they got more excited and once they started making plays and hitting balls, they got even more pumped up.”

Natchez Dixie Youth League President Tim McCann said the inspiration in putting together the team stemmed from the McComb squads, which had 6-year-old coach-pitch teams the past two years.

“I think it’s a great idea,” McCann said. “It’s introducing players to pitching at a younger age, because when they do get to be 7 years old, they will already be used to it.”

Bequette said the key to producing a team is all about time and preparation.

“We converted guys that could barely hit off a tee that were now hitting 30 mph pitches,” he said.

While McCann said the plan is to remain with T-ball, he did not rule out the possibility of employing a coach-pitch league in addition to an all-star team.

“It depends on how many kids sign up,” McCann said. “Everything is geared toward the numbers. If we have the numbers, we would probably do a coach-pitch league.”