Warriors fall in Dizzy Dean World Series: Year round baseball league committed to building lives

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — While the 7 and 8-year-old St. John Warriors All Stars did not take home the Dizzy Dean World Series trophy, they took home something much more valuable — life experience.

The 7- and 8-year-old teams won the Louisiana state championship earlier this month to advance to the Word Series Tournament, but had a difficult time when faced with region wide competition.

The 8-year-old Warriors started off strong with five straight wins against a series of teams from Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, but lost a doubleheader on Sunday to exit the tournament.

Eric Perrilloux, head coach for the 8-year-old Warriors, said his team rallied in the final game.

The St. John 8-year-old Warriors All Stars held a slight lead and were only a few innings from advancing to the quarterfinals at the Dizzy Dean World Series against the Levy Park All Stars, of Tallahassee, Fla., when it all fell apart.

“The third inning they were ahead with a score of 5-0,” Perrilloux said. “We came back and put up 6 runs and took the lead. After that it went downhill. They came back and scored another 7 runs.”

The Levy Park All Stars ended up winning the game 13-5, while the St. John Warriors 8-year-olds packed their bags to come back home.

While his team may not have advanced to the quarterfinals Perrilloux felt the players distinguished themselves amongst the 39 teams that were in competition in the tournament.

“Overall, I am very proud of my boys,” Perrilloux said. “They fought hard.”

The Warriors All Star teams are a project of St. John the Baptist Parks and Recreation Department.

The All Star travel teams are designed to keep the same players and coaches together over a ten-year period from age 5 to 14.

Perrilloux said having a team of kids together for such a long period offers a lot of opportunities to help shape them as people, which is a much more important mission than winning championships.

“Some of them come from broken homes,” Perrilloux said. “I think if we can keep them doing sports we, in the future, can keep them off the streets and show them as young men it is not about fighting. Every player here, I have to see their report card. If they don’t pull it up I sit them on the bench and say, ‘You are not going to play this game. You are coming to the game, you are not going to wear your uniform though.’”

Tedric Anderson, who serves as head coach of the 7-year-old Warriors All Stars, employs similar measures to help his players.

The 7-year-old Warriors went 1-3 and saw an early exit in the World Series tournament. However, Anderson said he felt his players grew throughout the season.

“We didn’t win the World Series,” Anderson said. “Ok. That is over with, but I definitely had discipline. I definitely had that.”

Anderson said the Warriors baseball program is more than just about competing, it is about teaching his players life skills.

“I am not just a coach, I am a mentor as well,” Anderson said.

“I am into their grades, their report cards. I do things like we have a teacher at the park. I don’t know who is going to be in my ball club. They may be a doctor or a lawyer some day.”

The way Perrilloux and Anderson see it, baseball is a tool to teach kids how to navigate the ups and downs of life and how to bounce back against adversity.

Both teams will take a break over the next few weeks but are planning to start again in the fall with a more relaxed practice and game schedule before ramping up for next summer.

“Baseball is all year round,” Anderson said.

“We are going to continue to rock and roll. It is not going to stop.”