A.L. Lott baseball gets season start

Published 8:58 pm Monday, May 8, 2017

What a great day for baseball.

Sounds of the old ballgame could be heard Saturday, as it was opening day for the A.L. Lott youth baseball league. From the ball hitting the glove, to the ping as the ball struck the bat, it’s safe to say this league is in good hands.

Roy Smith, president of the league,  continues the momentum of growing the league after revitalizing it in 2010.

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“I played Little League baseball back in the early ’60s and moved away after I graduated high school. I was gone for over 30 years, and when I moved back I noticed that we didn’t have a Little League baseball program for our inner city youth. I began to notice that kids were getting into trouble and crime was becoming more rampant. The only thing I kept hearing was that there’s more ways to police, rather than more ways to prevent.”

“That’s when I intervened,” Smith said. “I found inspiration from what Dr. Martin Luther King said back in the ’60s: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.’ To me this was something that mattered.”

“I see a little bit of these kids in me everyday. I served my country and now it’s time for me to serve my community,” said Smith.

The facility and league were dedicated to A.L. Lott, Brookhaven’s first African-American doctor. The league’s purpose is to inspire kids and help them stay active during the summer.

Opening day ceremonies featured several guest speakers. Mayor Joe Cox addressed the crowd.

“It’s a pleasure to be here and participate in the opening day activities, where parents, friends and families can spend time together at the ballpark in support of these young players,” Cox said.

Dr. James Hall of Brookhaven wanted the kids to know that they have a purpose in life.

“None of us are just born to live and exist and pass through this life. At some point in your life, you want to know that you’ve made an impact on someone’s life,” said Hall.

The league is currently a part of the American Little League Association.

“It’s the same league you watch on ESPN every year,” said Curtis Oliver, vice president of the league. “We play a minimum of 12 games and every kid must play. At the end of the season, you qualify for regionals. We’ve played in Jackson and Hattiesburg in the past, but Brookhaven is actually in the running to host it this year.”

“The primary objective of the league is to bring value to the community and kids. We want to make this league available to all people,” said Oliver. “There was a time when I was growing up when people gave back. We want to inspire kids to not only participate in sports, but to be a good citizen, student, son or daughter.”

For more information on sponsorship or how to join the A.L. Lott League, contact Smith or Oliver at 601-455-7488.