SA's Henry, Henson help North All-Stars to win
Starkville Academy's Kyle Henson was a part of MAIS All-Star action. (Photos by Kim Murrell, SDN)
What has happened so many times in the recent past at Volunteer Field, happened again Friday at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson.
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Starkville Academy head baseball coach Neal Henry and the recently graduated Kyle Henson both played a part in leading the North AAA/AA team past the South AAA/AA team 18-14 in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools All-Star Game.
Henry, serving as an assistant coach for the North squad that was under the leadership of Carroll Academy head coach Sim Shanks, watched on as Henson put together a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate.
"It was a lot of fun," said Henson. "I just wanted to put the ball in play like I always do and not try and do too much. It was hot playing out there on that turf but it was just a great experience being there with all the guys."
Henson, who signed earlier this month to continue his baseball career at East Central Community College, also added a walk and a stolen base in the contest, all while anchoring an unfamiliar defensive position.
Despite playing shortstop under Henry at SA, Henson served as the North's starting centerfielder on Friday.
"It was a lot different than middle infield for sure," said Henson. "I got kind of turned around on the first pitch of the game when they hit me one out there and the ball ended up going all the way to the wall. Other than that, I got adjusted and did alright with it. I'd still definitely rather be in the middle infield, but we needed somebody out there so I didn't mind being a good sport and playing out there."
While Henson excelled for one last time in his high school career, Henry watched on with pride.
"(Henson) had a great game," said Henry. "This was a great way for him to end his high school baseball days. He ended the regular season with two walk-off hits and now, he comes (to Jackson) and shows out."
Aside from getting to watch and be around Henson again, Henry also enjoyed his entire time as a coach for the North team.
Having just completed his second year as SA's leader, Henry says he doesn't take for granted the opportunity that he had to help lead an all-star team.
"It was a great experience," said Henry. "I'm very humbled that I got to do this. We had a great bunch of guys that never gave us any trouble. They were all great kids with great attitudes that always wanted to work. And to have one last time with Kyle, you ask for that."
Henson, too, was proud to share the entire experience with Henry.
"When (Henry) called me and told me he was going to be able to coach, we were both really excited to get to do this together," said Henson. "It made it all extra special."