April 23, 2009
Danny P Smith -
Whether it''s on the field or on the court, Devin and Demetrius Malone have made it a family affair at West Lowndes High School.
The cousins have shown an ability to help the Panthers in any sport.
"They are two of the best athletes in the school," West Lowndes baseball coach Todd Stanley said. "They are both steady. They make good grades and everybody loves them."
Stanley hopes the Malones will play key roles tonight when the Panthers (18-6) travel to Edinburg at 5 p.m. today in game one of their Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A best-of-three second-round playoff series.
Game two will be at 6 p.m. Friday at West Lowndes.
Game three, if needed, will be at Edinburg.
Demetrius said this year''s team might not be as athletic as last year''s squad that lost in the first round to Cathedral, but it plays more as a unit.
"We''ve played together longer and we understand each other, so I think we can go farther this year," Demetrius said.
Stanley said Demetrius probably is the best shortstop he has coached in his 12 seasons with the Panthers. He said the way Demetrius handles himself gives him confidence.
"He rarely makes a mistake and doesn''t get frustrated when he does," Stanley said. "He doesn''t get too up or down. He is a quiet leader."
Demetrius has only made four errors at shortstop this season, which Stanley believes is "pretty steady for a high school shortstop."
The ability to thrive at shortstop has helped other parts of Demetrius'' game.
"It''s one of my favorite positions to play," Demetrius said. "Playing good defense has brought my batting average way up."
Demetrius is hitting .347. He hit .400 in the three-game series against Mount Olive.
Devin is hitting .611 this season, buoyed by an .875 average in the Mount Olive series. He also is 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA.
Stanley said it doesn''t matter where he puts Devin because he just produces.
"Devin is just an athlete and does a little bit of everything," Stanley said. "He can play all three outfield (positions), first base, outfield, and he pitches. I''d rather have him up there (at the plate) as anybody right now."
Devin, a senior, attributes the success he and Demetrius are having to their chemistry.
"We are very close cousins, like to play sports, and stay out of trouble," Devin said. "We do most of everything together. We train together and go to movies together. It makes a big difference."
As a junior, Demetrius knows he can learn how sports are played from Devin.
"A lot of things he has experienced he is teaching me," Demetrius said. "I look up to him for advice and look up to him to come through at crucial times."