Area schools respond to help Smithville teams

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

SMITHVILLE – Amory baseball coach Chad Williams stood on a concrete slab – all that remains of a dugout – Thursday morning surveying the tornado damage to Smithville High School’s baseball complex.
“It’s devastating,” he said. “They’ve got nothing.”
Wednesday’s storm left the Seminoles baseball team without equipment and uniforms, said Smithville coach Jordan Summerford, who toured what remained of his ballpark with Amory’s coach.
“The locker room is gone,” Summerford said. “Most of our equipment is gone. The boys left their gloves and cleats in the locker room. They’re all gone.”
On a good note, all of Smithville’s players are OK.
Summerford and Williams walked about half a mile past where the outfield fence once stood and found a few items.
“I found some cleats, one glove and a catcher’s shin guard,” Williams said.
Amory’s coach says his program will provide Summerford’s team whatever it can facility and equipment-wise for the upcoming state playoffs.
“They can use our bats, our field, we have extra batting helmets,” said Williams, whose team has qualified for the state playoffs. “We’ve even offered them a set of uniforms, if they don’t mind playing in jerseys with ‘Amory’ on them.”
Summerford has been touched by all the outpouring of support for his program.
“Pretty much every school in Northeast Mississippi has called me wanting to help,” he said. “I’ve even had a few from South Mississippi. It’s been awesome.”
Monroe County neighbor Hatley has offered to host the Seminoles’ second-round Class 1A playoff series opener against Greenville St. Joseph.
The game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday in Hatley.
“What’s happened is terrible,” Hatley coach Mark Guntharp said. “They can use anything we have.”
The second and possible third game of the best-of-three series will be played at St. Joseph, starting at 4 p.m. Monday.

Ladies play Monday
Smithville fastpitch softball coach Jeremy Duke, whose Lady Seminoles have qualified for the state playoffs, has heard from all of his players.
“They’re all OK,” he said. “Some have lost their homes and uniforms. I think some of the equipment we have stored at our field (which is not part of the school complex) is fine.”
The Lady Seminoles were scheduled to play a first-round playoff doubleheader at home today against Coldwater, but it has been postponed until 5 p.m. Monday and will be played in Amory.

Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593
or gene.phelps@journalinc.com.