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County athletes taking part in summer baseball

Colton Caver saw the need for a summer baseball league in Mississippi after athletes lost significant portions of their seasons to COVID-19, so he formed the Deep South Collegiate League to allow local athletes to take get some reps in over the summer months.

Games take place multiple times a week at either Columbia High School or Pearl River Community College.

The league includes a range of athletes from those who just graduated high school to seniors in college, including several athletes from Pearl River County.

Athletes were randomly put into teams to allow the competition to be fair, with the only stipulations being that each team have a certain number of position players and pitchers.

Caver, who is currently the batting coach for the varsity baseball team at Gulfport High School, said the main point of the league is to get athletes back on the field and competing.

Baseball is a sport of repetition, so it’s beneficial that the DSCL allows players to knock off some of the rust from being stuck at home during prior shelter at home orders.

“It’s huge when you miss basically 70 percent of your season. These are high caliber players and if they don’t get reps they’re going to be behind. Them being prepared is more important now than ever before,” Caver said.

Another positive for the league is its relatively cheap pricing compared to travel ball leagues.

Position players have a fee of $735 while pitchers pay $435, which Caver said is significantly cheaper than the $1,200 some players would have to pay for a travel ball team.

To help fund the league there is also a charge at the gate for fans to attend games at PRCC, and Caver said the games are averaging 200 fans a day after an opening weekend that saw 500 people attend the games.

However, admission is cheap with tickets costing $8 for adults, $6 for seniors while children under the age of 10 are free.

The low cost and high amount of interest means the league has drawn athletes from all over Mississippi, which Caver hopes will be the case in coming years as well.

“This is perfect for Mississippi kids, something like this where kids don’t have to travel that far. (After) talking with other people, as long as this first year goes as planned we’re pretty confident we can do it in the years to come,” Caver said.

Caver said that he understands athletes in Pearl River County and across the state missed out on significant portions of their seasons.

While the league does allow players to get back out on the field, Caver said he hopes it also makes it obvious to them how important baseball is and how quickly something can be taken away. “I hope they realize it’s important to not take things like this for granted. To do something like this for the kids this summer has been pretty awesome,” Caver said.