MSU baseball Bulldogs inspire youngsters

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi State's baseball team is providing inspiration for many youngsters who love the game.

Dreams of playing in a College World Series begin at an early age. At a youth baseball camp in Gulfport this week, there's a definite buzz about the Bulldogs.

"Do you have to do with your feet to get prepared for a ground ball?" the coach quizzed his eager students.

They are ages five through nine with youthful enthusiasm and a love for the game. And while Omaha is 1,002 miles away from Joe Sam Owen baseball complex, these youngsters are quite aware of Mississippi State's world series hopes.

"It's fun to tell those guys, hey look, we're starting a camp today and Mississippi State is playing for the national championship tonight and it kind of got them going a little," said Coach Jamie McMahon.

"We were practicing how to throw, hit and catch," said seven-year-old Stennis Wilkins, who proudly wore his MSU cap.

Like the fundamentals being taught here, his advice for Mississippi State is to get back to basics.

"Hit home runs," said the boy ball player, "And get catches."

Coach Brad Corley has a unique perspective. He's a Mississippi State alum who played minor league ball and helped coach the Bulldogs baseball team last year. His advice?

"Relax. Enjoy it. Come out strong. No pressure, you know just have fun and play their game and they're going to be fine," said the former MSU standout.

"If Coach Lee is rolling me a ground ball, I'm going to get myself in position," said one of the coaches.

"I play every position. But I like center field the most. WHY? Because that's where most of the balls go in All Stars," said seven-year-old, Joel Smith.

Bulldogs fan, Christopher Allenbaugh, also prefers defense.

"Because you get to catch the balls in the air and tag the bases and tag people," said the blonde haired outfielder.

With six players from South Mississippi on the Bulldogs team, including two who played at Gulfport High, who knows what future stars may emerge.

"This is where you start, right here, to get a chance to play in Omaha," said Coach McMahon.

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