All-stars built on deep rotation

Published 7:09 pm Friday, July 9, 2010

Seven players on the Jemison 12-year-old baseball all-stars are listed as pitchers.

This weekend, the team might need every one of them.

The youth all-stars are competing in the Dizzy Dean state tournament in Columbiana, beginning with a game against Huffman at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Jemison has played about 20 games already this summer and could play 10 more in the double-elimination state tournament. The workload, combined with Dizzy Dean’s strict pitching rules, makes pitching a premium in the tournament.

Jemison coach Tommy Lenoir said pitching, fortunately, has been a strength for his team.

“They’re doing very well,” he said. “We’re pleased with all of them. We’ve had good control, throwing more strikes than balls.”

Jemison—which includes only one player, Trevor Wallace of Maplesville, from outside the city—has also swung the bats well. Lenoir said the team is especially adept at making contact.

“They do a pretty good job of putting the ball in play, not striking out, and taking advantage of the other team’s defensive mistakes,” Lenoir said.

Lenoir said Jemison has a team batting average of at least .380.

Jemison will have to play its best baseball of the summer to have a chance against the competition that will be featured in the state tournament. If Jemison wins its first game on Saturday, it would play again at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. If Jemison loses, the next game would be 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

“They’re ready to go,” Lenoir said. “They’ve played a lot of baseball, but they’re still excited.”

Lenoir thanked the parents and his assistant coaches for the help they’ve offered and the sacrifices they’ve made.

Jemison advanced to state by finishing second in the regional tournament in Asheville. Jemison defeated Chelsea, Moody and Vincent but lost to eventual regional champion Chelsea twice on June 29.