The Pontotoc Red Sox American Legion baseball team is getting ready to take the diamond for another winning season, with a tournament set to take place in The Hollow on June 10-13. Visiting teams will include Baldwyn, Batesville, and the Tropics from Missouri.
Junior legion teams will also participate in the tournament, including host Pontotoc, along with the Northeast Mississippi Indians, Tupelo, Baldwyn, the junior Tropic team from Missouri, as well as a team from South Pontotoc.
Coach Nickey Browning said he was optimistic about this year's squad.
"We're really a mixture of kids who will return for varsity play next year as well as those who might move on to the next level, and all of them benefit from the high caliber of competition," said Browning, who guessed he'd been coaching the Sox nearly 50 years. American Legion baseball has traditionally provided a chance for the top players in each state to compete against each other in an all-star-type setting. More than 3,400 teams and 55,00 youth, from all 50 states and Canada, participate.
Returning home for some brisk, summer ball with the Sox will be former Warrior standout Caleb Hobson, now a Northwest Mississippi Community College Ranger. Browning said he was excited to have one his former stars return. This spring, Hobson batted .344 for the Rangers, including 3 homers and 19 RBIs. He also stole 17 bases.
Other notables from around the area joining the Sox will include North Pontotoc's Bo Howell and Kaden Wilson, both Cahoma Community College signees, along with Ty Roberson, who was voted Best Offensive Player in Division 1-4A this season. South Pontotoc's Channing Lackey, Division 2-4A Co-Offensive Player of the Year, will also be part of the team. Browning said that, as of May 29, when this article was written, he didn't have his roster complete, but expected players from Eupora and East Union to be part of the squad as well.
The Red Sox finished last season 15-8 in a season abbreviated by the coronavirus that included winning the championship at the 34th Annual Twin Lakes Classic in Arkansas. The Red Sox have won the Twin Lakes Championship six of the past seven seasons, and eight of the last 12.