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Pre-Majors readies for success

Charles Henderson High School's Jalin Lawson (2) hits the ball during a baseball game against Rehobeth High School in Troy, Ala., Thursday, April 7, 2011. CHHS lost 6-1. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

For some baseball players, while the seasons may change, the playing time does not.

As the recreation tournament season quickly approaches, many of the teams have already hit the diamond and begun practicing.

However, there is one team that is already entered the heart of their schedule – and it is filled with some familiar faces from both Charles Henderson and Pike Liberal Arts.

Even though both teams finished their respective seasons a little over a month ago, a large majority of their players are back on the field, this time a part of the Dixie Pre-Majors teams.

The 17-player roster is made up of Michael Fox, Austin Adler, John Johnson, Luke Hastings, Joey Denison, Morgan Shaver, Rhett Tucker, Houston Mabray, Brantley Lecroy, Blake Craft, Nathan Fox, Jeffery Parker, John Michael Stephens, Zach Minor, Dustin Newman, Jalin Lawson and Lawson Stewart.

Like the Dixie Majors team, the Pre-Majors have a large amount of varsity experience, which is an attribute that head coach Brock Kelley says will play a big factor in the coming months.

“The guys really seem to be gelling well with one another,” the coach said.

“Most of them have played at a high level at some point during the high school seasons, which is good. But they are all friends and have played together before, so that is also a big help.”

So far, the team has competed against the likes of Eufaula, Enterprise and Dothan as well as in tournaments in both Troy and Montgomery.

Out of those games, the coach said one of the team’s main strengths were realized.

“I think our hitting has been one of the biggest strengths,” Kelley said.

“We are trying to instill in them the hitting mindset of staying of each of their strengths as individuals. I think even though we might not be the most talented team on the field on any given night, we play the game the right way – and that’s what I want them to understand and take away from this summer.”

It’s that kind of an attitude that the coach said he hopes his team carries with them not only throughout the tournament season but also throughout the rest of their playing days.

“If they take one thing out of this summer, I hope it’s the respect for the game,” Kelley said.

“Good things are going to happen if you respect the game and play it the right way. Every time you step on the field, you want to win. But if you play it the right way, it doesn’t matter if you win or loss. Winning a state championship or a World Series should be the goal, but helping these kids grow as players and people is always important.”