Former Major League players Chris Snopek, Ryan Theriot and Scott Copeland have teamed up to bring a new collegiate baseball league to the south. College players normally travel to compete in elite summer leagues, but with COVID-19 making host families and facilities problematic, the Southeast Collegiate Baseball League was formed to bring competitive college level baseball closer to home.
“Obviously with everything that was going on this spring and college seasons getting cut short, we just thought it was kind of our calling to give these guys an opportunity to play this summer,” said SE Collegiate Commissioner Cory Hough. “We just figured there was enough talent in Mississippi that even though guys can’t go off to their normal summer leagues we could do something that was competitive and beneficial for the guys’ games right here in Mississippi.”
The league currently has seven teams. Five of the seven are in Mississippi: four in Jackson and one in Hattiesburg. The remaining two are in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Royals head coach Bob Dunhurst is just as excited as the players to be back out on the diamond.
“I’ve coached with this organization in the youth ages for probably eight years now,” said Dunhurst. “I love being out here. I love what they represent. I was like a kid in a candy store yesterday. Man I was as excited as the kids were.”
A good portion of the league’s Division 1 talent is made up of SEC players including freshman Ole Miss catcher Hayden Dunhurst.
“As soon as I heard baseball and they said, ‘Do you want to play?’ I said ‘Absolutely,’” said Dunhurst. “Even though you’re hitting BP everyday you know taking bat practice or pitches throwing bullpens, it’s so much different in live action facing real game scenarios and everything. It just puts you back in rhythm so that you’re ready for next year.”
The Freshman All-American may just be one of the first to ever receive the accolade two years in a row thanks to the NCAA’S extra year of eligibility.
“The goals I set for myself are aways very specific. I try to make Team USA over the summer and try to make big imporvements for summer ball and then you know since I received Freshman All-American I guess I’ll be called a freshman again next year and would want to get Freshman All-American again”
Each team will play 20 games this summer and Jackson division games will be played at Co-Lin’s Sullivan Field.