By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The State Farm Shelby County All-Star Baseball Game at Millington’s USA Stadium is becoming a post Memorial Day tradition in the area.
The first two games held between the best of the Public Schools vs the best of the Private Schools have gone the way of the Private Schools. The nine-inning format was set for round three May 27 and the 2014 edition of the mid-Spring classic was going the way of the Public School Stars leading 5-1 in the fourth inning.
Then the winds started to pick up and a few rain drops started to fall from the Millington sky. Just as USA Stadium Director Johnny Ray made his way onto the field to warn the umpires, the precipitation picked up and the players tarped the field.
Seconds later the rain poured down and the third annual Shelby County All-Star game was concluded. But that was just the beginning of the fun for most of the players. Several members of both teams removed their red or blue jerseys to take the soaked tarp for slip-n-slide festivities.
As players dove head-first into large puddles, Private School All-Star Connor Alexander was taking safe cover under the bleachers.
“What I’ll remember most, maybe all the rain and this weather,” the former Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebel player said.
One of Alexander’s fellow Rebels Jacob LaFosse joined his peers in the fun on the tarp as rain continued to drench the historic field. But just a few feet away from Alexander and dry was his other teammate TRA’s Blain Curtis.
“It feels pretty good to know I’m one of the few players to be selected,” Curtis said. “It’s an honor.”
The Christian Brothers University signee was the leadoff man for the Rebels helping TRA win 34 games and reach the Division II-A State championship game.
The smallest school in the area had three players on the Private School roster and its Head Coach Brad Smith.
“It goes to show what kind of season we had and what we did to contribute to this season,” Curtis said. “This is for all our teammates.”
Since the All-Star Game started in 2012, several TRA players have participated like Jordan Wilson, Cale Alexander, Jacob Johnson, Brandon Mitson, Cody Migliore, Andrew Ralston and David Owen.
Many of those former Rebel players were on hand for the game. And as most of the 2014 All-Stars made water tunnels and became human bowling pins, those TRA legends were safe under the bleachers reminiscing with Curtis and Alexander.
“It’s good to see them and know they still care about us to come watch us,” Alexander said. “They still want to be a part of it.”
With 10 Rebels on the All-Time list for the game, Alexander said it shows the little school on the border of Shelby and Tipton counties rivals with the Houstons, Colliervilles, Christian Brothers and Hardings.
“It shows we’re starting to build a legacy like them,” he concluded. “We’ll be one of those top level schools.”
The 2014 Public School All-Stars are Brandon Montgomery (Collierville), Dvennio Warner II (Bolton), Grayson Moyes (Collierville), Bobby Holder (Bartlett), Juwan Barney (Arlington), John Sparks (Bolton), Zach Randall (Arlington), Cody Young (Collierville), Chris Little (Germantown), Cody Duncan (Arlington), Calvin Hodges (Millington), Bradley Crain (Collierville), Welsey Roberson (Houston), Jake Greer (Houston), Tyler Myers (Collierville), Jacob Elliot (Bartlett), Clayton Conner (Arlington), Logan Blackfan (Houston), Wesley Johnson (Bartlett), Austin Looker (Bolton), Bryan Waldrop (Houston), Chris Boone (Germantown), Bryan Cruse (Bartlett), coaches Jeff Hopkins (Collierville) and Chris Ring (Arlington).
The 2014 Private School All-Stars are Blain Curtis (TRA), Connor Alexander (TRA), Josh Russell (CBHS), William Brown (St. George’s), Spencer Bridgers (Briarcrest), Daniel Shaw (CBHS), Ben Lowe (ECS), Jackson Ward (Harding), Roman Novarese (CBHS), Breck Ruddick (CBHS), Corey Herndon (CBHS), Seth Young (MUS), Chris Petrilak (St. Benedict), Chris Durham (CBHS), Michael Fitzsimmons (MUS), John Wesley Ray (CBHS), Blake Bennett (MUS), Austin Stewart (Harding), Jacob LaFosse (TRA), Matt Cunningham (Briarcrest), Paxton Pearson (Briarcrest), Matt Holman (Harding), coaches Al Stevens (Harding), Brad Smith (TRA) and Buzz Walthall (St. George’s).