DECATUR, Miss. (WTOK) Newton County Academy’s baseball team set the bar high entering the 2020 season, hoping to finally get over the hump of losing in the South State title game the previous two seasons.
“We played for South State the past two years," Head coach Kelly Alderman said. "This year we really thought was going to be the year but it wasn’t haha…”
With the coronavirus spoiling those plans and ending the Generals season after 18 games played, the goal of being crowned 2020 South State Champions would become unachievable. Not being able to compete for the title is something head coach Kelly Alderman said is especially disappointing for the team’s six seniors.
“I hate it for them because I really felt like this was going to be the year for them which, you know, I can say that but we’ll never know," Coach Alderman said. "It was kind of sad to see it end like it did but it’s going to be alright."
The six seniors on this year’s squad were Kemp Alderman, Harber Reese, Jacob Smith, Hayden Wall, Wesley Williams, and Hayden West.
Coach Alderman shared what made this group of seniors unique.
“Most of these guys did not lead by talking, most of them led by example and that’s what I like about them so much," Coach Alderman said. "They didn’t talk so much as they did just got out here and got after it.”
Alderman has coached three of the players since the eighth grade while the other three just joined the team last season. While the boys didn’t spend all of middle school or high school together, Coach Alderman said all six of them bonded well together and always brought energy to the team on game days and at practices.
“Most of the time they’re always happy to be at practice and that’s special," Alderman explained. "You want a kid to have fun playing baseball and they were all like that."
Hayden West and Kemp Alderman will be continuing their baseball careers at the next level, with West playing at East Central Community College and Alderman suiting up for Ole Miss. Coach Alderman said he will miss being around all six players but knows their futures will be bright in whatever they choose to do.
“I have been blessed to coach them and I think that there’s no doubt that whatever they do, whether it be baseball like Hayden and Kemp, I think all of them will succeed in life," Alderman said. "I think they’ll be good, young men.”