BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - For Coast kids playing for the Louisiana Knights, being able to step in the batter's box of MGM Park may seem surreal.
“When you’re a kid, you come to these games, and say ‘I wish I could be here,’" Gulfport rising sophomore and Knights infielder Jacob Palazzo said. "Then you walk out to the mound, it’s really cool.”
“It felt so good," Knights outfielder and Mississippi State commit Keilon Parnell of Pascagoula said. "It felt like I was a big leaguer. The bigger the stadium, the better you play. It felt good.”
While the chance to play in a ballpark you grew up attending is unique, it also comes with an opportunity to show out for the Coast.
“It’s a blessing to show them what ‘The 228’ got," Parnell said. "You meet way more players, this is how it’s going to be in the league - to have players from all across America, but it feels good to represent the 228.”
After a significantly shortened spring season, the opportunity to get playing experience in the summer not only in front of fans, but also in front of scouts, is vital.
“It’s very important. The seniors had it rough," Palazzo said. "Some were looking to go to colleges, we’re just lucky to have the opportunity to get college scouts what they need to see, and come out here and have fun, and show them what we can do.”
For a handful of kids, it's the first time they've played under the bright lights.
“This is my first professional stadium playing in. I’ve just played in high school stadiums," Palazzo said. "It’s a really good opportunity and it’s a blast to play in.”
For some, they’re perhaps looking forward to a return to MGM Park - a playing experience like few others.
“Maybe I can play here with the Shuckers team," Parnell said with a smile. "It’s a good environment when the sun is out. It’s right by the beach, so you feel a good breeze. I like it a lot - it’s a blessing to play here.”