Baseball tourney starts Thursday
OUT! While Union's Jody Blount, right, was tagged out trying to steal third by Southeast Lauderdale's Tyler Harper during the 2002 season, his baseball future has continued to blossom. Blount is one of several local players to be chosen to play in the baseball portion of the State Games of Mississippi. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
June 19, 2002
The eight-team State Games baseball tournament begins Thursday, but one of the biggest days for the participants is actually today.
The players from each team will work out before professional and college coaches and scouts today at Meridian Community College's Scaggs Field. Districts 1 and 2 get things started at 10 a.m. with Districts 3 and 4 showing their skills at noon. At 2 p.m., Districts 5 and 6 take the field with Districts 7 and 8 wrapping up the day at 4 p.m.
Play begins Thursday at 10 a.m. at Scaggs Field and runs through Sunday. Players from the north half of the state compete on teams from Districts 1-4 with players from the south half playing on teams from Districts 5-8. The winners of each half meet Sunday for the gold medal in the College World Series format.
Eight area players are on the District 5 team with three coming from West Lauderdale. They are shortstop/third baseman Bo Davis, first baseman Richie McAlister, and pitcher/shortstop Trent Posey. Other area players on District 5 are pitcher/shortstop/outfielder Jody Blount of Union, pitcher/shortstop/outfielder Drew Anderson of Northeast Lauderdale, second baseman/outfielder Maurice Cole of Meridian, pitcher/third baseman/shortstop Jonathan Russell of Quitman, and outfielder Akeem Lofton of Wayne County.
District 5 faces District 8 (the Gulf Coast) Thursday at 1 p.m. Players from District 5 have never won a gold medal in the previous 10 years of the State Games.
Five area players are on the District 4 team including a pair from Louisville. The Wildcats making the team are catcher Anthony Stanford and pitcher/outfielder Chris Perry. Also on the District 4 team are Jonathan Booker of Philadelphia and pitcher/outfielder John Fortenberry of Carthage. District 4 has five players each from Starkville and New Hope.
Players from District 4 won gold medals as North Central in 1995 and as District 4 in 1999.
This year's teams are restricted to 2003 and 2004 graduates only. To get here, players had to be selected at one of eight tryouts held last Saturday at Mississippi junior colleges across the state.
In the past, college and pro scouts have been numerous at the tournament.