Nachez Bulldog shows off skills at showcase

Published 10:48 pm Sunday, July 17, 2016

NATCHEZ — The summer is growing late, and Jatavis Melton will have to turn his attention to football season soon.

But it’s not football season yet, and Melton said he takes baseball just as — if not more — seriously, even in the off season.

“I have football coming up, but I’ll get focused (after baseball),” Melton said.

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Melton, who is a member of the Concordia-based summer team, the Purple Sox, spent a week in Atlanta to showcase his skill at a tryout sponsored by Perfect Game, a college baseball oriented recruiting service that holds showcases and tournaments throughout the country. Notable alumni include Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Madison Bumgarner.

“I did fine,” Melton said. “It was a different level up there … It made me a better player, because I had never seen those high-school players before.”

At the showcase, Melton was pitted against some of the nation’s top high school baseball prospects.

Melton put on a show of his own. Melton said his best game at the showcase was a 4-for-4 performance including two triples and three stolen bases. Melton also accomplished the feat of stealing home plate.

“I knew if I got a bad jump I would be out,” Melton said regarding swiping home. “I hit the ball pretty well.”

Melton said he played middle infield and outfield in the tournament, although he said he prefers outfield.

Melton said the big stage of a showcase in Atlanta was nerve-racking before his first game, but as he played his nerves settled. He said he was observed by dozens of college scouts, and the exposure was important for his playing career.

Melton hardly got any down time after the tryout, however. The Purple Sox went to DeRidder, La., to compete in the state tournament.

“(Atlanta) was nice, there was a lot of traffic,” Melton said. “I was just resting my body, I’m still sore after seven or eight games.”