Natchez High’s Martavis Woods to play at MSA All-Star Game this June

Published 12:42 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Current Natchez High School ninth-grader and baseball standout Martavis Woods will be playing with and against some of the best young players in the state next month at the Magnolia Sports Association’s Grand Slam MSA All-Star Game.

The Grand Slam MSA All-Star Game Weekend will take place on Thursday, June 15 and Friday, June 16 on the campus of East Central Community College in Decatur. The game itself will be that Friday at a time to be determined.

“It’s something new they (Magnolia Sports Association) started this year. This is the first year I’ve heard (of it),” Natchez High head baseball coach Dan Smith said. “They’re basically 10th– and 11th-graders. It’s for 2025 graduates and 2026 graduates.”

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As for how Woods was among those selected to participate, Smith said. “He was selected to play. He’s going to the 10th grade next year. I put his name in a hat with the nominations. I sent some videos to him.”

During the 2023 season, Woods batted .275 with 15 runs batted in, 13 runs scored, and four doubles. He was also a threat on the base pads with 20 stolen bases. Smith said he used Woods as a utility player, putting him both in the outfield and the infield.

Smith said that Woods received his invitation on Tuesday, May 2, and it didn’t take long to accept the invitation to participate in this event.

“His parents filled the thing out and he’s going to play,” Smith said. “Media Day is on the 15th and the game is on the 16th.”

Those who will play will also check in and have practice on Thursday, June 15. One of the players’ responsibilities is that they cannot participate in any other Mississippi public school All-Star games this season for baseball.

The format is an 18-man roster involving top players from all over the state in their respective class public and private school. Players will be drafted and teamed up with players from all over Mississippi and it will be a full high school game.

As for what Woods’ reaction was when he received the invitation, Smith said, “He was excited. He was smiling from ear to ear. He called his brother and they’re both excited for him. It’s a good opportunity for him to see competition from around the state.”

Smith noted that playing in this All-Star game will help Woods in several ways as he continues his high-school baseball career.

“The first thing is it’s going to help him compete with the best players from around the state. Second, there’s going to be some college coaches there. That will help him help his teammates. Accept the whole team aspect. It will give the kids behind him notoriety,” Smith said.

And the fact that Woods is the only player from southwest Mississippi participating in the Grand Slam MSA All-Star Game this year could let the rest of the state know there is baseball in this part of the state.

“Let them know there is baseball not only at Natchez High, but also the Natchez area,” Smith said. “Maybe next year there could be some players from not only Natchez High, but Cathedral and ACCS and perhaps others.”