Meridian Star

Sports

May 30, 2014

Several area athletes to play in Classes 1-3A baseball All-Star game

JACKSON — JACKSON — Mason Irby said he feels like several of his Southeast Lauderdale High School senior teammates were worthy of the honor.

The recently graduated Irby, who played catcher for Southeast this past season, arrived in Jackson Thursday to take part in the 2014 M.D. Howie Mississippi High School All-Star Baseball Games. He joins two other area athletes — Union High School’s Will Kennedy and Clarkdale High School’s Levi Wedgeworth — on the MHSAA Classes 1-3A South Team.

“I found out a month or so ago (I’d be playing),” Irby said. “I was just really thankful when I found out. I know it’s an opportunity not everyone gets. I’m glad to be one of the few that gets to do it.”

And the chance to represent Southeast, which made it to the 3A South State title series, at Smith Wills Stadium in Jackson only adds to the honor, he said.

“I know there were some other guys on my team that were definitely just as worthy to represent Southeast as I was,” Irby said. “The fact that they chose me makes me feel that much more thankful.”

A Jones County Junior College signee, Irby said he had the thought of playing in the All-Star game in the back of his mind throughout the season, but he never thought about it too much.

“It was my senior year, so having already signed, it just takes all the pressure off and makes you want to just have fun,” Irby said. “That’s what it’s all about. God’s really blessed me.”

Kennedy, a third baseman, middle infielder and catcher for Union, said he was looking forward to the competition when he hits the practice field today and the diamond Saturday.

“I’m expecting to see some good pitching, so hopefully I can learn a few things from the guys pushing each other,” Kennedy said.

Having found out about playing in the game a little more than a month ago, Kennedy said he was looking forward to getting an extra game of high school baseball in. Union made it to the Class 2A South State semifinal round this past season.

“It’s been a few years since anyone from Union played in the game, so it’s an honor,” Kennedy said. “It wasn’t really on my mind during the season; I was just worried about how I was going to perform. It was a pretty good season. We beat a bunch of people others didn’t think we would beat, but we basically choked during the playoffs. This is definitely a silver lining to the year, since it’s a chance to put on a high school jersey one last time.”

Wedgeworth said work was limited during Thursday’s practice session after he arrived, but he already has an idea of what to expect the next couple of days.

“We went and hit and did some (bullpen work) in the cages for 45 minutes,” he said. “There are some pretty good athletes here.”

Though Wedgeworth, a first baseman for Clarkdale, found out about playing in the All-Star game only several weeks into the season, he said there wasn’t any added pressure to do well just because he was an All-Star.

“It was an encouragement to me,” Wedgeworth said. “It wasn’t on my mind.”

Like Irby and Kennedy, Wedgeworth said he enjoys the opportunity to represent his high school.

“I feel pretty honored,” Wedgeworth said. “It feels like all my hard work paid off. We’ve had two guys (at Clarkdale) play in the game before me, and I think me being here helps represent us pretty well.”

Irby is the son of Marcus and Lisa Irby. Kennedy is the son of Mitch and Amy Kennedy, and Wedgeworth is the son of Dana and Wayne Wedgeworth.

The Classes 1-3A game will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday when the South takes on the North squad.

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