By Marilyn Tinnin
The East Coast Sox Baseball team is a showcase program. You will find similar programs across the country where youth from all over get to play as part of select teams against like-wise talented youth. College coaches and Major League talent scouts can come to weekend tournaments and observe outstanding potential. Such venues have become the preferred method of scouting. But they also offer unusual exposure and opportunity for kids—especially those from smaller schools—to be noticed and receive scholarships post high school.
Talent scouts and college coaches in charge of recruiting have quickly come to respect this relatively new group. East Coast’s mastery of social media makes it easy to tweet out player updates and accomplishments. You can bet that helps a player build a resume.
But what makes East Coast Sox unique is that its leadership puts a priority on developing the spiritual component of their players as well as their competence on the baseball diamond. If you are skeptical about such a program, consider this success rate. In its fourth year of existence, 56 players graduated from their respective high schools in May and 55 of them received college scholarship offers. East Coast Baseball can claim alumni at Ole Miss, MSU, Southern MS, Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Memphis, Tennessee, South Alabama, MS College, University of Montevallo, and every community college in the state.
Indianola native and former Heritage Academy Coach Greg Sykes is the Director of East Coast Sox. His partners, Joe Caruso, former All American at Alabama and AAA standout at Kansas City, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh, and Eric Dubose, MSU legend, U.S. Olympic Team alternate, and former Baltimore Orioles pitcher have developed a showcase program second to none. Their talents compliment in the best sense of the word.
Although the core participants of the East Coast Sox are Mississippians, the club also attracts players from surrounding states. Last year the Sox claimed outstanding talent from eleven states! The players come to a tryout and those selected are grouped into teams by graduation years. This coming year Greg says they expect to have 16 teams. What he and his partners have found is if kids come in and play as ninth-graders, they come back again the next year and the next. Not only do they have the chance to build their skill and have outstanding coaches working with them (coaches who work in the program have impressive credentials on the baseball diamond), but they find mentors who have a great love for Christ and a great desire to see their players grow into the same.
Every single weekend that there is a tournament, you can also count on East Coast Sox having two worship services where there will be a terrific worship leader and a wonderful message. This is a sports organization that puts a high priority on families being in worship together on Sunday and an equally high priority on helping youth connect the dots between their effort, skill and the way to honor the God who gave them a platform in the first place.
Check them out. www.eastcoastbaseball.org.
East Coast Sox Showcase Tryout
7910 Ole 8th Street Road, Meridian, MS 39307
January 30, 2016
11:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (See website for specifics)
See Tryout Registration and Information at www.EastCoastBaseball.org or contact Greg Sykes at firstname.lastname@example.org.