Better late than never, this story of the most successful team in Mississippi RBI history, is finally being written. By no fault but my own, it’s time to reward these 15 young men, who deserve to have their story told. So, here we go.
First, some back story. This team is the most successful because they were the first to win the RBI Regional tournament. The Warriors defeated Arlington RBI 2-1 in the regional championship and dogpiled on the mound of Rangers Stadium. The 2012 Warriors came within a run of accomplishing the feat in a 2-1 loss to Houston RBI in the regional’s final game. The 2011 and 2010 Warriors also lost to Houston RBI in the Regional championship game, both played in Little Rock, Ark. By winning a championship, this 2013 team did something that no other RBI team from Mississippi had ever done.
From the moment we stepped off the plane in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the players knew this was the big-time. A camera crew from MLB.com followed their every move and we were driven to a huge hotel to set up shop for the 5-day event. We were one of two teams in the tournament that had never been there. Every other team had at least one world series trip in the history. MLB.com interviewed two of our players the first night we arrived for a story on that very subject. “We Belong” became our team motto throughout the tournament. Despite the fact that they had never been this far, both from home and in the RBI tournament, they had earned their way there and they would soon get to show why on the field.
The team opened up with three pool play games that mean nothing, only seeding in the quarterfinals of the world series, against Chicago White Sox RBI, Venice RBI (Calif.) and the Dominican Republic. Mississippi RBI also let every one in the tournament know that we planned to have fun during our games. “Gospel rallies” and continuous noise came from our dugout. Even other teams joined us when their coaches turned their backs. On the way to our game the Dominicans recorded a “Harlem Shake” video with our team.
Finally, it was time to play the first game that mattered. We were paired against Detroit RBI, a near-20 year old RBI program. They were throwing their best pitcher and we sent our top dog out to the mound. Undersized, but a true Bulldog, Yazoo City sophomore Darrius Wright pitched a complete game (4 hits all 1B’s and 6 k’s) shutout and his shortstop, also a soph., Lakon Wilson, smacked a RBI single in the top of the 7th to give the Warriors the lead. We won 1-0. So many great plays from the infielders and a gutty performance behind the plate from Sam Campbell.
Immediately after winning against Detroit the Warriors had to face Tampa RBI later the same day. Sophomore DeMarcus Evans toed the rubber for the Warriors and pitched well until an experienced Tampa team took advantage of errors and blew open a very close game. Tampa would return to the RBI World Series championship game for the second straight year.
These 15 players made history for Mississippi RBI: Sam and Gabriel Campbell, Darrius Wright, Desi Scott, Tre Hobbs, Kendrick Walk, Jarred Scott, Lakon Wilson, Billy Man-Man Cameron, CJ Newsome, Donte Peters, Tamaz Conerly, Kaelyn Young, Kedryn “Peter Rabbit” Wright and DeMarcus Evans.
Rumors say the videos from MLB.com would be posted after the MLB World Series that ended last month. The players were shown an incredible video of the entire event during the RBI World Series championship game, but it has not been posted as of today.
Mississippi RBI started as a short summer league and clinics in 2009 at Battlefield Park and other rundown baseball fields around Jackson and now we’re winning regional tournaments and gaining corporate sponsors. I’m amazed at how God lets himself be glorified in what we’re doing. This ministry exists to provide opportunities to players that would not normally exist for them. We’ve done this for four years thanks to our sponsors like Wal-Mart, BankPlus, Community Bank, Bob Boyte Honda and many other private and anonymous donors. To find out how to give visit our donors page.