St. Jude pitcher Trey Douglas wasn’t sure he’d ever get to play baseball at St. Jude again when the Pirates discontinued the team after the 2010 season.
But for the first time since ninth grade, the senior was able to hit the diamond again and sport the school colors.
“Well they told us that we weren’t going to have a team, I wanted to switch schools,” Douglas said. “It feels good to play for your high school, to have something to stand for. I can say, ‘I’m on the baseball team.’ It just feels good.”
The Pirates have come a long way since practice opened on Jan. 18.
After a delayed start because of the boys team winning the state basketball championship and low participation, the Pirates finally opened the season on Friday against Bullock County at Chisholm Community Center Park.
“It’s a good step for our program, and a good step for the kids,” Jackson said. “Our first practice we had four players, and we were frightened to death. But they’re starting to come around and look like a team. We’re optimistic. It’s about trying to establish something for the future.”
St. Jude started the season off strong with a 12-10 win over the Hornets, who also opened their season on Friday. A five-run sixth inning helped the Pirates get ahead and allowed them to hold off a Bullock County run in the seventh.
As to be expected, both teams had its share of errors and the game ran longer than expected, prompting the two squads to call it a night instead of playing the scheduled doubleheader.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys that are excited and energetic, no nerves,” Jackson said. “Well, I take that back, there were a little nerves in the first inning, but they came along well.”
Douglas went 3-for-4 at the plate with four RBIs and an inside-the-park home run to spark the Pirates’ late offensive burst. He also started on the mound and struck out five in three innings.
“I think I could’ve pitched better,” Douglas said. “I did decent. I can get a lot better during the season. I think I’ve got all the nerves out now.”
Marcus McFadden relieved Douglas and struck out six in the final four innings. Shortstop Trey Jackson went 1-for-2 and had two steals.
The Pirates pleased an energetic crowd of crimson as an abundance of parents, students and school faculty members showed up to support new team.
“It’s been a community effort,” Jackson said. “It’s been the administration, the teachers, the parents. I looked up and our basketball team was here. That was gratifying. That was really pleasant. It gives us something to be optimistic about.”