Out of the park

Published 9:27 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2008

By By Matthew Nascone
Events that are good for the community and that try to grab support from the community are great. The inaugural Atmore Home Run Derby was one of those events and it might not have had that much support this year, but I bet there are more people out there next year.
I know Escambia County head baseball coach Jonathan Rasberry will be on the horn to make sure it is more successful next year. It is good to see the coaches at the high school taking an interest in introducing the community to their teams.
Rasberry's act of community support is just the newest in a long line of events. The 2006 Meet the Blue Devils picnic before the football season was received well and the only reason it did not happen again in 2007 was horrible weather.
The varsity basketball teams attempted to host a Black History Month tournament, but the turnout did not pan out for that. I think people need to get behind these teams who are trying to offer the community with a fun event that will help the local school's programs.
I know I was out there Saturday as the Home Run Derby kicked off and I stayed until the end to see Eric Coley crowned the champ. It was an interesting chain of events to watch.
What was really fun to watch was how Rasberry made up some intricate rules on the fly when Michael Thomas was the only participant to hit a home run in the first round of the event.
I was wondering what Rasberry was going to do to split the tie and I have to say the way he did it was interesting and it seemed like a fair way to do it. It also allowed the event to end in a reasonable time frame.
There is no lying here because I was psyched about the event because it is a baseball event and everyone who knows me understands that I eat, sleep and breathe baseball. I think it is the greatest sport in the world and I can't wait for it to begin every year.
This was also a good event that gained a lot of monetary support from the community and there were many businesses that pledged to support the Blue Devils for the Home Run Derby and for the season. That is great to see because a community always needs to rally behind its schools.
Another fun part of the day was getting to see the moon shots that professional player and former Auburn University star Sean Gamble sent over the right field fence. I was fortunate enough to watch Sean when he played at Auburn and everyone at the derby saw what he could do as far as power, but that is definitely not what got him drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies out of Auburn.
The man can flat out fly around the bases and if you blink you will miss him as he makes his way from first to home plate. I was amazed at how fast this man was. He was easily the fastest human being I have seen live on a baseball field.
No matter what anyone says, last Saturday was a fun afternoon and I am looking forward to next year's derby already.
Matthew Nascone is the sports editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or online at sports@atmoreadvance.com.

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