Cotton States baseball expands

By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal

If the Cotton States League and the New Albany Sportsplex thought June was busy, today takes it to a new level.
With the college schedule basically at its halfway point on the calendar, 13 high school teams begin play today in a slate that runs through July 27.
“The July league runs for three weeks and two days, with 12 games for each team,” said Frank Dodds, director of operations for the all of the Cotton States leagues. “There are 13 teams this year, up from 8 last July.
“This league is a tribute to the support we get from our sponsors, coaches, and the city of New Albany. The players who come know they’ll get some quality games in this league.”
Today for the high school league, there will be 11 games played on three fields at the New Albany facility, with games beginning at 10:30 a.m., with Wednesday being the only day off on the calendar for the high schoolers.
For 2012, the high school division is up 60 players from 2011.
And not only is today the opener for the high schoolers, but Cotton States also opens the season today for the first time with a four-team junior high league, with two games on tap.
College Cotton States
Play continues today in the college division with three games on tap.
Currently, the North Delta Dealers lead the standings at 11-1-1, with the Tallahatchie Rascals following at 10-3.
On the mound, Oak Grove native and Ole Miss junior Scott Weathersby is sporting a 0.00 ERA with a 4-0 record for the Dealers, while Northeast Community College sophomore Kyle Stephenson is 4-1 with a 1.27 ERA.
At the plate, Holmes Community College freshman Jaylan Hackett leads the league with a .386 average for the Dealers. Evan Hickman of Holly Springs is third in the league with a .375 mark, with Ripley native and recent Blue Mountain junior signee Will Wallis fifth at .364.
And not only are the college players busy with their baseball, eight of those players are also coaching teams in the July high school league.
“We think that’s a lot of fun for the high school players to have the college players as coaches,” Dodds said. “It exposes all of them to something new.”