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The Dart: Natchez mom ready for son to come back to homeplate

NATCHEZ — Guynell Smith’s 21-year-old son hasn’t hit many grand slams on the baseball field lately — not since he went away to college at Mississippi State University. However, Guynell said she is looking forward to her son coming home for Thanksgiving this week.

When the dart landed near Hummingbird Lane Saturday afternoon, Guynell was out walking with a Christmas present her son Gabe received when he was 13 years old, which turned out to be more her present that Gabe’s, she said.

“He begged me for a dog for about three years,” Guynell said. “He wanted either a Jack Russell or a beagle. Finally, when we decided to get a dog, I thought I should get the breed that I liked because I knew I would wind up being the one to take care of him.”

Gabe’s companion, “Slugger,” turned out to be a solid white miniature schnauzer.

“He was always her baby,” Guynell’s husband, Rob said teasingly. “She says she got him for Gabe, but he is the dog she wanted.”

Guynell said even though Slugger is no beagle, Gabe fell in love with him just as much as she did.

“When we went to pick him up, I remember Gabe saying he’s just the cutest dog ever,” she said.

Guynell said she and Slugger both celebrated a birthday last month. Slugger turned 8 years old. The pup got his name from Gabe’s favorite pastime while he was a student at Cathedral High School, Guynell said.
“From T-ball onward, baseball was his favorite sport,” Guynell said.

Though Gabe often joked about Slugger being the “golden child,” it was Gabe who was the starting pitcher for Cathedral High School’s varsity baseball team by the time he graduated in 2016, his dad, Guynell said.

Gabe later signed on to play baseball at Copiah-Lincoln Community College before he transferred to study civil engineering at MSU, Guynell said.

“I’m looking forward to Gabe coming home,” she said.

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