SILOAM SPRINGS -- Summer is a time for family outings, picnics, festivals like the Decatur Barbecue, swimming and just relaxing under the sun. For a small group of Decatur youth, summer is about the American pastime, baseball.
The group of kids, mostly Decatur Middle School students, elected to give up a little of their summer to learn the game. They are coached by J.C. Dorsey and Donald Thomas, both baseball coaches at Decatur High School who wanted to teach the younger athletes, some for the very first time, to become better players.
Both coaches decided to sponsor the kids in the Siloam Springs Babe Ruth League, which plays every Tuesday and Thursday at James Butts Baseball Complex in Siloam Springs. The coaches put up the entry fees and use their own equipment so that the kids can learn and have a little fun on the way. There are only four teams signed up in the league this summer which allows Decatur players a chance to grow and learn from their previous game mistakes.
In the first game, played May 31, the Decatur team fell behind early to the Siloam Springs A team. Decatur managed only one run in the second inning before the mercy rule was called, ending the first game with Siloam Springs A taking the win.
The second contest pitted Decatur against Siloam Springs B in a nightcap. In the top of the first inning, Decatur managed to bring three runs across home before the third out ended its rally. This was the first and only time Decatur led. In the next inning, Siloam Springs B had a huge rally that eventually earned them the win.
In the Thursday afternoon contest, Decatur once again squared off against the Siloam A team. This time, the Siloam Springs A team made a series of mistakes in the opening inning, opening the way for the Decatur team to take the lead by three runs in the bottom of the first. Good fielding by the Decatur team allowed Siloam only two runs which helped Decatur hang on to its lead for one more inning.
But the bottom dropped out for Decatur as a series of missteps allowed Siloam A to catch up and run away with the contest. Siloam Springs A took the win once again.
The experiences this young band of Decatur kids had this summer are likely to carry on over the next two summers. And then it will be their turn to take over the reins of the Decatur High School baseball program, making for a more competitive team in the future.