Cotton States baseball: High school division on rise

By David Wheeler/Special to the Journal

The Cotton States Baseball League that operates in New Albany may be best known for its thriving college schedule in June and July.
But the host site for the league, the New Albany Sportsplex, will busting at the seams in July with the growing high school division.
“There is a lot of baseball talent in North Mississippi, and this is a great opportunity for young men to play,” said Frank Dodds, the Director of Operations for the Cotton State Baseball League. “To see live pitching, there is no substitution for that.”
The high school league had nine teams with just over 100 players last year, and already has 80 signed up for 2012, with the deadline for July play registration set for Sunday.
“To me, this is a league geared toward younger players,” said New Albany High School head coach John Walker, who has had several of his players in the league. “Anytime you can play live baseball, it’s a good thing.”
The league is for freshmen through seniors to-be, with approximately 12-13 players per team. At bats each game are guaranteed, as well as a defensive rotation for all players.
Record of success
“We have already had some talented players come through the high school league, like Brandon Woodruff,” said Dodds, referring to the Wheeler native who started two games on the mound for Mississippi State during the recent SEC Tournament. “And we have a great set of coaches, some of whom are current college players who will also be playing in the college league.
“And we now have four fields for all of the leagues play. We certainly appreciate the City of New Albany for all its help, and we have a quality event with quality sponsors.”
League play for high school players will run July 7-29, and interested parties can log on to MississippiSelectSports.com for registration and contact information.
The Cotton States Baseball League is also offering a Junior High league beginning this year, with registration through June 10 for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders for the July schedule. And the high school league also has a separate schedule in September and October, which had 180 players last fall.