July 2, 2009
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- Shane Grantham has been given the responsibility of teaching 7-year-old All-Stars more about the game while playing in a competitive situation this weekend.
The Starkville 7 Coach-Pitch All-Stars begin the Dizzy Dean State Tournament at Grenada when it plays Water Valley at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Starkville played two practice games and also scrimmaged against Columbus in getting ready and Grantham believes his squad is prepared for tournament action.
"Our team has improved since we first started three weeks ago," Grantham said. "I think we have a good chance of getting through there."
In other action in the tournament Friday, Columbus plays Batesville at 4:30 p.m. and Louisville plays Grenada Youth at 6 p.m.
The 7-year olds are the youngest group to be involved in All-Stars so some obvious challenges exist when dealing with players of that age.
Grantham has tried to move players around and they may have to learn on the job.
"They are getting introduced to different positions and we went from 350 kids to 12 on the all-star team so the majority of the people were playing infield so we had to basically create outfielders," Grantham said. "That has been a big adjustment for the players."
Starkville''s players are Joshua Aka, Braden Carlisle, John Thomas Cox, Kevin Diaz, Josh Edmonds, Jase Grantham, Cedric Hines, Jaden James, Keyshawn Lawrence, Jack Perry, Ahmir Taylor, Kamden Upchurch and Jermaine Williams.
If Starkville wins its first game Friday, it won''t have to play again until 10 a.m. Saturday against the Greenwood-Houston winner. If Starkville loses, it will have to come right back and play again at 6 p.m. Friday against the Greenwood-Houston loser.
The tournament is double-elimination format and the World Series will be played in Ringgold, Ga.