Bulldogs will represent Natchez in All-Star game Friday

Published 10:29 am Thursday, July 6, 2023

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JACKSON — For the second time in three weeks, the Magnolia Sports Association’s inaugural MSA Grand Slam Baseball All-Star Game have been pushed back because of lightning and severe weather that has plagued much of the state of Mississippi.

And the location for the Baseball All-Star Game has been changed as well. They were originally scheduled to take place on the campus of East Central Community College in Decatur on the weekend of June 15 and 16, only to be rescheduled for June 29 and 30 at the same location because of rough weather.

Now, and hopefully weather permitting, the MSA Grand Slam Baseball All-Star Game will take place at the Hank Aaron Sports Academy, formerly known as Smith-Wills Stadium, this Friday, July 7 at 7 p.m.

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Natchez High head baseball coach Dan Smith, along with assistant coach Charles Cothern Jr., junior varsity and summer team coach Favian Moore, and trainer Christian Reynolds are still among those who will be participating in the MSA Grand Slam Baseball All-Star Game.

“We canceled the game because of lightning in the first inning (last Friday). The baseball coach at ECCC, he said they had some tournaments the rest of the summer and that put us in a bind at first,” Smith said. “I called Clint Johnson, who’s over the scheduling at Smith-Wills Stadium. I’ve known him through my years of coaching. He called his boss, Tim Bennett, who’s over Smith-Wills, Trustmark Park (home of the Mississippi Braves), and the ball park on the coast in Biloxi. He had an open date and he said we could play it up there.”

Also representing the Bulldogs as well as the city of Natchez and the Southwest Mississippi region will be sophomore-to-be Martavis Woods and senior-to-be Jaylin Davis at the All-Star Game.

“Yes. They’re still playing. Everything is the same. The only thing different is the location,” Smith said. “Some of the kids were discouraged that they were not able to finish. There were a couple of scouts and coaches there. When they found out it was being played at Smith-Wills, they were excited about playing in Jackson and playing a night game. It’s good to play in that atmosphere and it’s a little cooler, too.”

Smith was also asked back in May by Magnolia Sports Association Chief Executive Officer Kiery Stribling to be in charge of the MSA Grand Slam Baseball All-Star Game. Along with being the head coach, he was also in charge of the coaching staff, the combine, and the practices.

“I wasn’t really discouraged about it. I was happy for the kids because they were able to start the game in a college ball park and they will be able to finish on a Minor League field. Smith-Wills is a first-rate field. It has its positives and negatives. A couple of coaches and scouts that came last week won’t be able to make it this time because of the MLB Draft. But we have videos on the kids from practice.”