E.A. Sports Today

Dodd, Blanchards picked for All-Star Game

Updates with news on USA youth camp, summer showcase, Lions games, spring football

By East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT — James Blanchard will get to coach his son Bayley a little longer this baseball season.

Blanchard, the Piedmont coach, and Bayley, the Bulldogs’ versatile infielder, both landed spots in the Alabama North-South All-Star Baseball Game later this summer in Montgomery. Blanchard, named as one of the North’s coaches, said it was the first time a Piedmont player had been selected for the game.

Alexandria’s Cody Dodd also was selected to the North team.

The teams are comprised of 18 current juniors from across the state. The game is July 21 at Riverwalk Stadium.

Blanchard, the player, led his team in virtually every offensive category this past season. He hit .431 with two homers, including a grand slam, 11 doubles and four triples.

The selections were actually known to the participants last week, but the ASHAA just released them publicly Thursday.

“Any time as a dad you can do something with your son like that, that’s special,” James Blanchard said. “This is something we can keep forever.”

The Bulldogs were eliminated from the Class 3A playoffs last weekend in three games by Winfield. Bayley Blanchard scored the winning run in the Bulldogs’ Game 1 victory.

The Valley Cubs were eliminated from the Class 5A playoffs by Russellville Friday.

PLAY MORE BALL: The season’s rainy weather put a serious damper on Oxford’s baseball schedule this year, but coach Wes Brooks is looking to make up some of those lost innings with his returning players as the Jackets play in next month’s seventh annual National High School Summer Showcase in Birmingham.

The Jackets – as well as Alexandria and Randolph County — will be among more than 50 teams from across the south playing in the June 11-13 event with games at venues across the city like the Hoover Met and Rickwood Field.

“We had 17 rainouts this year and I want to play as many games as I can this summer,” Brooks said.

THIS BUD’S FOR THEM: The Yellow Jackets may have played their last regular-season at Bud McCarty Field when they hosted Alexandria for Senior Night, but it wasn’t the last game at the venerable venue.

The facility will host the fourth round of the 84th Lions Club’s East-West All-Star game Monday, this time between the Calhoun-Cleburne-Talladega stars and the Birmingham area stars.

The series continues Thursday with the best of Monday’s stars playing the Etowah area stars at Larry Foster Field at Etowah High School and concludes with that game’s best 20 playing in the final game in Decatur.

LOOKING FUTURE OLYMPIANS: Youth players with aspirations of someday playing for their country can get in on the ground floor of the process by participating in the USA Baseball 9-12 Open Development Camp at the Earl Martin Complex in Oxford May 17.

The camp emphasizes player-development techniques used by USA Baseball. Oxford coach Wes Brooks and his coaches will be among the instructors. Players in the camp will be identified and recommended for consideration to the USA Baseball National Open this summer to qualify for the following year’s 12-and-under national team.

The Oxford camp is open to players born on or after Jan. 1, 2003, and runs from 2-5 p.m. Registration fee is $65. Visit USABaseball12U.com for more information.

SPRING FOOTBALL: New county football coaches Jonathan Nix (Pleasant Valley) and Chris White (White Plains) have been getting to know their personnel and will put them in live action for the first time later this week in the fourth annual Calhoun County Spring Jam May 14-15 at JSU Stadium.

On Thursday, White Plains plays Wellborn at 4:30 p.m., with Alexandria playing Talladega at 7:30. On Friday, it’ll be Saks and Pleasant Valley at 4:30 p.m. and Weaver against event host Ohatchee at 7:30.

The second wave of spring jamborees at JSU takes over Saturday with the 14-team Gridiron Challenge put together by Anniston coach Eddie Bullock and former Donoho coach Shannon Felder. Anniston will play Leeds in one of the games. The other teams include Cleburne County, Munford, Center Point, Paul Bryant, Coosa Christian, Ragland, Glencoe and Fort Payne.

The games will be two 15-minute halves starting at 8:30 a.m.

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