Baseball year-round effort for Basinger

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Besides having one of the best small town Christmas festivals in the country, Demopolis has also always been seen as a baseball breeding ground where most kids know how to play baseball before they even know how to fully say their ABC’s.

It’s been the game of choice for a town that sits within a nationally recognized football crazed state and has come to wear their baseball pride like a badge of honor on their sleeve. And with every year that passes and every young player that rises from the area and propels forward to the next level of play, that pride grows stronger and that badge grows bigger.

With this week’s signing of 2002 Demopolis High graduate Cole Basinger to play ball for the University of Southern Mississippi Screaming Eagles, we can see why the city of Demopolis is so hung up on the sport of baseball and why they are proud of it.

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Basinger is a 6’2" 195-pound left-handed pitcher who has spent the last year playing ball in Bay Minette, Alabama, at Faulkner State Community College and knows that this is another proud moment for the city of Demopolis as well as Demopolis High School.

Basinger is currently home for the Christmas holidays, but that doesn’t mean that he can lie around the house watching television sleeping till noon like many other college students on break. Even though it’s December, Basinger must continue to work on his game and his physical training as much as possible.

Along with his younger brother Seth Basinger and soon to be USM teammate Adam Smith, who is also a DHS graduate, Basinger wonders out to his old stomping ground at the DHS ballpark for a mid-day work out. It’s not one of the more serious types of workouts that ball players at the college level are use to, but it’s enough to break a good sweat.

But for Smith, this is considered a really light day compared to what he is up against at USM. "Everyday we run at USM. During the season we are required to get in two lifts a week and during the off-season it’s about four times a week. And on top of that we still have regular practice and school. But we still are required to run everyday except on game days," Smith said.

It’s not any easy adjustment for any 17 or 18-year-old to make, but for Basinger who has already spent over a year doing much of the same at Faulkner State, the transformation should be an easy one, as far as the physical is concerned anyway.

While working out at DHS, the boys catch up with their former coach, DHS baseball head coach, James Moody as he does a few ground repairs in the outfield. In his nine years at DHS, coach Moody has seen roughly 37 players move on to play at the next level. But it is at times like these when players come home that makes Moody proud.

Although Cole is his brother, Seth Basinger is one of those kids that looks up to players like Adam and Cole wanting to follow in their footsteps. But unlike his brother, Seth is an entirely different player who thrives on emotion.

Though baseball has always come first in his life, Seth has another love once fall rolls around with football. And though it may be a scary situation for most baseball coaches to have a star player out on the gridiron, coach Moody believes that for someone like Seth the combination of the two sports work well.

And as far as baseball players doing something else besides baseball, coach Moody doesn’t see a problem with it, especially if they’re doing it together.

After watching his brother working hard over the years to obtain his goals in baseball, Seth has learned the value of hard work and knows that if he has any plans of following in his footsteps in the near future, he has to commit himself to a daily regime of physical conditioning.

But it’s definitely worth it if you love the game as much as these guys do. And as for their reward for all the years of hard work? Well I’m sure anyone one of them would settle for just one chance to knock the ball over the "Green Monster" in Fenway Park, catch a long fly ball up against the ivy at Wrigley Field or stand on the mound on a crisp autumn afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Because that’s what it’s still about to them and that’s the way it’s suppose to be.