June 30, 2009
Remember the Titans?
It''s hard to forget the Ridgeland High School version.
For the second consecutive year, the Ridgeland Titans won the Dizzy Dean High School World Series.
The Titans defeated Kosciusko 6-1 on Monday at New Hope High School''s Trojan Field to repeat as champions.
The thing that seems to make Ridgeland click more than anything else is teamwork.
Whether it''s at the plate or on the mound, the Titans seem to rely on each other to get things done.
"All for one and one for all is our team motto and that''s what we do," said Ridgeland pitcher Michael Posey.
Ridgeland''s Hunter Twitty was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and deservedly so, but any one of the Titans could have been honored.
Twitty, who drove in a pair of runs in the championship game and had two triples against Neshoba Central on Saturday, was surprised and thankful to be recognized in such a manner. He considered it being just part of his job.
"The guys got on base in front of me and I was getting fastballs to hit," Twitty said. "It''s about doing anything and finding a way to win. It doesn''t matter what it takes, just find a way."
The most impressive player to me in the last two years of seeing Ridgeland play is centerfielder and leadoff hitter Jarrett Jenkins.
Jenkins causes opponents problems with his base-running ability and is a weapon that coach Brian Rea loves to have at the top of the order.
"He''s our table-setter," Rea said. "He''s just so fast and puts it in play. That puts so much pressure on the defense."
That''s what Jenkins loves to do and goes about his business well.
If Jenkins walks, reaches on an error or an infield hit, you might as well consider it a triple because most of the time he''s going to find a way to steal second and third.
With Jenkins on base, it gives players like Twitty, Tate Ratcliff, Stephen Joe and Nick Johnson chances for RBIs.
"When I''m on first base, it opens up fastballs to the rest of the lineup," Jenkins said.
One through nine, there''s not an easy out in the lineup and that''s why, more than anything else, the Titans can call themselves back-to-back Dizzy Dean World Series champions.
The Golden Triangle League once again pulled off another quality World Series.
Even though the number of teams may have been down this year with only 17 teams, Golden Triangle representative Stacy Hester and state representative Richard Ellis deserve credit for the job they did running the event.
It''s always refreshing to travel around to the different sites during the weekend of the World Series and visit with umpires, scorekeepers and other officials as the tournament progresses. The hospitality is very good and that''s why this area keeps the World Series.
This was the sixth-straight year and the seventh overall for the Golden Triangle to host the World Series.
Hester and Ellis are encouraged about prospects for next year''s World Series.
As long as word spreads about how much fun players and coaches have during their experience, there will be an increased amount of support in the future.
Danny P. Smith is the assisstant sports editor of The Commercial Dispatch. He can be contacted at [email protected]
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