Blue Jays repeat as State Champions

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 18, 2016

The Batesville Blue Jays (8-year-old All Stars) won the 2016 Dizzy Dean State Championship Tuesday in Winona, beating Starkville 26-23 in the finals. Players and coaches in random order include Leland Weldon, Karson Ware, Garrett Snider, Deuce Hudson, Hayden Fultz, Jarel Turner, Jayden Lester, Kaden Martin, Brentley Morris, Levi Daniel, Tucker Goddard, and Jarrett Toliver; coaches Jeremy Weldon, Jeremy Ware, Travis Fultz, Gary Snider, and Petey Hudson. The Blue Jays also won the title as 7’s last year. Photo submitted

Blue Jays repeat as State Champions

By Jeremy Weldon
Coach Blue Jays
The Batesville Blue Jays repeated as Dizzy Dean State Champions in Winona Tuesday, beating Clarksdale (16-6) and Starkville (26-23) to win the 2016 title.
The Blue Jays are the 8-year-old all-stars chosen from their teams in the J.P. Hudson baseball program this spring. The team posted an impressive 29-6 record during the six-week All-Star season, winning every tournament entered except the Batesville Bash where they finished second to Clarksdale.
Along the way, the Blue Jays won the All-Star Classic in Olive Branch and the Bullfrog Classic in Horn Lake.
J.P. Hudson Park Director Dave Aven said he thought the Batesville 8’s had a chance to repeat as State Champs when he watched them play and practice early in the season. “They are a good group of kids and coaches, and have a good group of parents,” Aven said.
 The Blue Jays won the North Mississippi State Championship last weekend in Horn Lake, defeating teams from Independence, Southaven and Hernando. Dizzy Dean baseball introduced a new format this year, bringing division winners from across the state together for a one-day playoff and naming an overall state champion. Other division winners were Clarksdale, Saltillo, and Starkville.
Temperatures were above 90 degrees when the games began, and players from the four teams struggled with the heat. During trophy presentations, tournament director Mike Narmour told the boys it was the best coach-pitch baseball he has seen in several years.
“These kids all played super baseball despite the heat, and each one deserves applause,” Narmour said. “The Batesville team was the best, and is a great example of what Dizzy Dean baseball is all about.”
In the championship game, Starkville went ahead early putting seven runs on the board in the first. Batesville battled back and took the lead in the third inning, and held a six-run advantage when Starkville came to bat in the sixth and final inning.
Starkville’s top of the lineup quickly scored three runs before any outs were recorded, but the Blue Jay defense snuffed the rally with good infield play. Pitcher Jarel Turner fielded a bunt and threw out a speedy Starkville runner by a step to secure the win.
The Blue Jays played good defensive ball during the season, but it was the hitting that carried Batesville from the start.
Leland Weldon led the hit parade, smashing 12 home runs in the 35 games, including a dramatic walk-off shot against New Albany to win the Olive Branch tournament. Jarrett Toliver and Tucker Goddard also had multiple home run games, including grand slams in the Horn Lake tournaments. Goddard’s bat got hot in the second tournament when he hit four consecutive homers over the center field fence, and recorded six that weekend.
Deuce Hudson, Kaden Martin, Hayden Fultz, and Jayden Lester each hit long balls this season. Wilson Russell, Karson Ware, Brenley Morris, Levi Daniel, Garrett Snider, and Jarel Turner all had good trips to the plate, and played strong defense for the Blue Jays.
The team is coached by Jeremy Weldon with assistants Jeremy Ware, Petey Hudson, Gary Snider, and Travis Fultz. Long-time Batesville recreation ball coach Bodean Ware helped with the players, and always led the team prayer before games.

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