Meridian Star

Sports

May 31, 2014

2 Newton County players join other locals in Classes 4-6A All-Star game

JACKSON — Any high school would be thrilled to have just one player represent them in an All-Star game.

Newton County High School, however, will have two players representing it in the 2014 D.M. Howie Mississippi High School All-Star Baseball Games today.

Cale Hollingsworth and Peyton Cain will represent the school on the South Team in the Classes 4-6A game today at Smith Wills Stadium. They are joined in the game by West Lauderdale High School’s Ryan Lane and Neshoba Central High School’s Austin Harrison, who will compete on the North Team.

“It’s great,” Cain said of having Hollingsworth on his team. “We’ve been playing together since we were like 5 years old, so it seems like we should be on the same team in our last high school game. It also gives me someone to room with.”

Hollingsworth also said he’s glad to have a familiar face on the same team as him.

“It’s cool having a guy I’ve always played with on the team with me,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s good that I’m not the only one (on the team).”

Rain has been an issue the past couple of days in Jackson, but Cain said he’s expecting the game to still get in tomorrow.

“From what I hear the field drains pretty well, so as far as I know we’re still playing,” Cain said. “It won’t be that big a deal. They’re probably going to have a lot of dry baseballs for us.”

Cain also said he doesn’t expect the lack of practice time due to the rain to be a big factor in today’s game.

“A few days where we’re kind of relaxed can do us good,” he said. “Most everyone here has been deep in the playoffs, so we’re kind of worn out. It won’t be bad for us to have just a few layoff days.”

The chance to play in the All-Star game is a dream come true for Hollingsworth, especially since it came as a surprise, he said.

“There are a lot of really good baseball players here, and I’m expecting to see some good baseball,” he said. “(Playing in this game) didn’t really cross my mind during the season. I never really thought I would play, so when I found out, it was pretty cool. It definitely came as a surprise, for sure.”

Hollingsworth, the son of Raelynn and Gregg Hollingsworth, is expected to play catcher. Cain, the son of Jason and Anna Cain, is expected to pitch an inning and either play first base or the outfield.

North Team

Orientation at Meridian Community College kept both Lane and Harrison from any team activities Friday afternoon. Like the two Newton County players, Harrison said he doesn’t expect the lack of practice time to hurt too much.

“This is a bunch of guys who know how to play baseball, so I think we’ll be fine,” Harrison said. “We did get to hit, so we have that at least. I don’t think it will affect things too much.”

Since the field is turf, Harrison said he expects to play barring thunder and lightning. And since it’s the chance of a lifetime, he wouldn’t expect a little rain to put a damper on things.

“It’s a blessing being able to play one more game,” he said. “I was honored to be selected. It also means a lot to represent Neshoba Central. I’m there only one from there on the team, so it puts a lot on me, but I feel very honored.”

For Lane, an elbow injury last year kept him sidelined for the State Games of Mississippi. Now that he’s healthy, the chance to play in an All-Star game helps make up for missing the Games last summer.

“It’s a pleasure to be out here with a bunch of super guys and really good baseball players,” he said.

Lane added, though, that if he had to choose, he’d take the state title his team won last week in the Class 4A championship series.

“A state championship, no doubt (comes first),” Lane said. “That was with my high school boys.”

Like Harrison, Lane is the only player from his school on the All-Star squad.

“It’s very special knowing I had the skills enough to come out here and be a part of it,” Lane said. “It wasn’t on my mind at all during the season. I actually didn’t even know about the game if you can believe it. But Coach (Jerry) Boatner came up to me and asked me if I’d do it, and I told him I would.”

Lane, the son of Greg and Robbie Lane, will pitch, while Harrison is expected to either pitch or catch.

The Classes 4-6A game will begin at 1 p.m. today.

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