June 1, 2009
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Jeff Hunter doesn''t aspire to be a professional baseball coach.
The former New Hope High School and Mississippi State pitcher also is hesitant to become a high school baseball coach.
But Hunter''s love for the game couldn''t keep him away from the Cotton States Baseball League.
On Tuesday, Hunter will take the field as coach for the Golden Triangle Jets when the team plays its first two games of the Cotton States Baseball League - North Division''s inaugural season.
For Hunter, 30, the chance to coach college players is a great opportunity to continue to teach the finer points of the game of baseball.
"With older guys like that who have college coaches, I explain the mechanics and physics of how the body is supposed to move," said Hunter, who was 33-4 as a pitcher at New Hope. "There are certain definites in throwing and hitting. Hitting is timing and pitching is mental. That is the part I see helping with the older guys, the consistency of moving their body and having confidence."
Hunter was a member of New Hope''s 1996 team that finished 43-0 and set a state record for wins in a season. He went on to pitch at Meridian Community College before moving on to MSU.
In addition to his work as owner of AdvantEdge Sports, a multi-sport training and exercise facility in Tupelo, Hunter also is coaching a 13-year-old travel team in Tupelo, but he said the two coaching jobs and his full-time job won''t conflict.
"I am going to let them play and there is going to be discipline," Hunter said. "I already sent them an e-mail saying they have to be clean shaved. They are going to hustle on and off the field. We have plenty of players, and good players. It is going to be fun."
The CSBL - North Division will kick off its inaugural season at 6 p.m. today when the Tupelo Thunder take on the Tallahatchie Rascals in a doubleheader at the New Albany Sportsplex just off U.S. Highway 78 in New Albany.
The Jets will take on the North Delta Dealers at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
All games this season will be played at the New Albany Sportsplex.
The Jets are sponsored by Game Time Sports in Columbus.
Columbus High''s Dylan Anderson will join Ben Fleming (Southern Polytechnic State University), Brent Hallmark (Delta State), and Garrett Harris (South Alabama signee from Meridian Community College) and West Point''s Alex Lummus, a freshman on the East Mississippi C.C. baseball team this season, on the Jets.
The pro-style, summer collegiate league is for players with remaining college eligibility. Mississippi Select Sports/Mississippi Select Baseball in partnership with the CSBL South, which is owned and operated by former major-leaguer Chris Snopek and his Performance Sports Academy in Jackson, will operate the North Division wood-bat league.
The CSBL North will play a 28-game schedule in June and July, culminating with a best-of-three championship series between the regular season North and South Division champions.
The CSBL will play a North/South mid-season All-Star game July 18 in New Albany.
University of Mississippi coach Mike Bianco, whose team advanced to the NCAA tournament, has one player, redshirt pitcher Kyle Thornton in the league.
"The Cotton States League is a good collegiate league where it gives kids a chance to play summer ball, continue to improve, and get better with the game," Bianco said. "Most of them are wooden bat leagues that''s attractive to kids and makes the games go a lot faster.
"We''re excited to have a collegiate league so close to home."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.