Oxford ending summer season early, skipping NEMCABB tournament

Published 2:02 pm Wednesday, June 20, 2018

For the first time since Chris Baughman can remember, Oxford will not be playing baseball the final week of June.

The Chargers are skipping this year’s Northeast Mississippi Coaches Association for Better Baseball (NEMCABB) tournament. A tournament Oxford usually fares well in.

Due to non-baseball obligations and scheduled family vacations the Chargers ended their Summer season earlier than usual.

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“It was just one of those years,” Baughman said. “All of us coaches are out next week. It just happened to fall on one of those weeks.”

Missing out on the annual tournament, which takes place at New Albany’s BNA Park, puts a dent in Baughman and his staff’s routine of trimming down the roster before school resumes in August.

There are 42 players returning who will range from ninth to 12th-graders. The roster has to be cut down to 30. In the past Baughman has used the NEMCABB tournament to evaluate his players one final time. That is not an option this year.

“I wish we had an extra week,” Baughman said. “One of the things we tried to do was those younger kids who may have not played a lot behind some of the sophomores in (junior varsity) from last year or one of those (former) eighth graders that may not have seen play a whole lot, we’ve used the summer to try and give them some reps.”

Wanting to make sure every kid had a place to play if they were not affiliated with any travel ball teams, Baughman allowed some of his older returning players play in the games along with the younger players.

Oxford scheduled six doubleheader dates — the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) allows 12 full games to be played during the summer months — and the Chargers were able to play on four of those dates. Eight games may not seem like a lot of time to evaluate players but Baughman felt the goal was accomplished.

“I was very pleased in us getting some of those younger guys in a situation where as a coach you’re not worried about winning,” Baughman said. “You want to see guys compete and for the most part I think we did that.”

Oxford concluded their summer schedule with a pair of home wins against Lafayette on Tuesday.