Natchez baseball league ‘far exceeds’ goal for first season

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2024

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NATCHEZ –  Ryan Porter admitted he was a little tired as he addressed the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen on Tuesday morning.

“Bear with me as I stumble through this,” he told the officials. “I was at the baseball fields until 10 p.m. last night, hosting our first tryout and draft combination.”

Porter, who is the city’s Parks and Recreation Director, said the inaugural season for the new Natchez Youth Sports organization is already exceeding expectations.

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“Our goal originally was to have two to three teams per league,” he said. “We have far exceeded that goal.”

In fact, the league’s first baseball season will include a total of 311 registrants, ages 3 to 12 and up.

“In our 3- and 4-year-old Wee Ball leagues, we have six teams and 63 kids,” Porter said. “In our 5- and 6-year-old (league) we have 97 kids making eight teams. And in 7- and 8-year-old last night we had 68 kids show up for tryouts and the draft session.”

Where, Porter joked, he learned “never put 68 kids in a dugout.”

The 9- and 10-year-old league has 55 players and five teams. The only disappointment is the 11- and 12-year-old league, which has only 15 players registered so far. “By that age, we see a lot of kids drop out of baseball and pursue other activities,” Porter said. He added that organizers are still recruiting players, and depending on the final number could create two teams in that league or consider creating one team and sending players to Vidalia, La., to represent Natchez in that league.

Response from the overall community has been more than supportive.

The new league already has 19 sponsors who have pledged a total of $6,000. “We plan to probably double that number by the time the season starts,” Porter said.

Moreover, 35 coaches have volunteered for the league. “We’re still searching for umpires,” Porter said. “We have four people committed now, but we need to probably add another.”

Play is scheduled to begin in April. More details about the organization can be found at