Valdosta Daily Times

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May 31, 2014

Berrien County relishes chance to play big

VALDOSTA — A ‘Valdosta Summer Shootout’ regular, the Berrien Rebels cherish the opportunity to play against the higher class ranked schools in the area.

“We’ve played in this (tournament) for years. Ever since I’ve been at Berrien, it has always been a good tournament, good competition and it’s close. Coach Shuman is a good friend of mines and we’re right down the road so it would be crazy to not play in it,” said Rebels head coach Doug Nix.

Summer baseball does not count against a school’s record, however it provides the perfect opportunity for players and coaches to gain experience and build a team. Coach Nix is no stranger to the summer tournament and knows the value of playing baseball in the summer.

“Our team has played very well so far. Summer ball is a chance to get a lot of kids on the field. We get a chance to see what they can do in different positions, see who will be competing against each other and to watch who can do what,” said Nix.

The Rebels took on the home team, the Valdosta Wildcats, in a game that was called by the referees due to stormy weather. Thunderstorm warnings plagued the tournament for most of Friday afternoon, just as they did in Thursday’s games. After an initial 30-minute thunder delay during the fourth inning, the Rebels and Wildcats were prepared to take the field to continue the game, which left off with the Rebels leading 5-0. However another round of thunder and lighting stopped their chance to continue and the game ended with the Rebels taking a 5-0 win.

While the game did not get to finish, the purpose of summer baseball was still fulfilled.

“Summer ball is a great way to sit back and evaluate your kids without the stress of having to win. We have a young team. We have eight graders playing now also and it’s good to see them get it together,” said Nix. “We’re a AA school so we get to play bigger schools sometimes in the season. However, we’re fortunate because we have a few big AAAAAA schools around us and we try to play them all, whether in summer or regular season. It makes us a lot better.”

As the summer continues, Nix will continue to focus on getting his team experience and working on specific goals to improve the Rebels.

“We’re trying to do a better job at the plate with two strikes. We want to see them do some things we talked about,” said Nix. “A big thing for us this summer is working on not striking out. You come in summer with goals, and some things you want to work on and get better at. Summer ball is practice and we’re working to get our team together.”

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