Oak Mountain fielded a team coached by Pell City native Chris Jones. Playing for him was his son Andrew.
Pell City fielded a team, and one of the coaches was Jeff Smith, older brother to Chris. Playing for him was his son Davis, who happens to be four days older than his first cousin Andrew.
Andrew Jones is 10 years old, and his nickname is Chipper. He wears No. 10 on his jersey just like Chipper Jones does for the Atlanta Braves. This is Andrew’s sixth season to play baseball. He has played since he was 5 years old. He has been an All-Star player four years.
His mom’s name is Camille, and he has a 13-year-old sister, Caroline. They all live in Leeds.
Andrew and Davis have never squared off against each other.
“It is so cool having my dad as my coach,” Andrew said. “I know the game plan even before we hit the field.”
Andrew is the team’s second baseman. He can also catch and pitch.
Chris said this is just like old times when he and his brother Jeff were growing up in Riverside. They are the sons of Chip and Beth Jones.
Chris played Little League baseball growing up, but probably played more baseball with Jeff in the backyard and on Depot Street in Riverside.
Once he became older, football became his passion, and he played only one year of baseball in high school. That was his junior year.
Chris went on to play football at Auburn University for Coach Pat Dye.
“I’m a football guy, but baseball is fun too,” Chris said. “Especially when you have a son, and you can be his coach.”
When asked how it felt coaching against his older brother, Chris said it was just going to be like old times.
“You never want to get beat by your older brother,” Chris said. “We are 12 months apart, and we played outside everyday until dark, and then we played 30 more minutes. That’s what mother called ‘dark-thirty’.”
When asked if Andrew reminded him of when he was that age, Chris said, “Oh yes, he got his mother’s size, but he got my tenacity.”
“Andrew has played a lot of baseball just to be 10, and likes football better than baseball really,” Chris said. “He plays baseball, but his passion is football. He loves to tackle, but he is small. Size is not going to stop him though, because he will take on the biggest player on the team.”
Chris said his nephew Davis is just the opposite of Andrew when it comes to size.
“He is a big kid,” Chris said. “He is four days older than Andrew, but he is at least four inches talker than him. He is a very talented kid. I’m excited about seeing him play in the tournament. We never get to see Davis play since they are in Pell City, and we are all the way in Oak Mountain. I’m excited, and I’m looking forward to a huge match-up. I’m the head coach of our team, so I have the luxury of putting Chipper on the mound to face his cousin and see who can win the battle. We going to love each other after the game, but we going to get up there and see if we can strike him out. We are there to win, and we definitely don’t want to get showed up by big brother and cousin. We will find out Saturday.”
Davis is the 10-year-old son of Jeff and Hannah Jones of Pell City. He has one brother, Coleman, 14; and two sisters, Anna Clair, 13; and Elizabeth, 3.
Davis said it is going to be fun playing against his first cousin and uncle.
“I hope we have a great time,” Davis said. “Having my dad as a coach is also neat. I also hope I’m on the mound when Andrew comes up to bat. I think I will strike him out. If I strike him out, he will probably peg me when I come up to bat.”
Davis pitches and also plays first base.
Jeff said this was much more about fun than it was competition.
“It’s like Chris and myself getting to relive memories of ourselves growing up all over again,” Jeff said. “It’s more like a family reunion than competition. It’s hard to compete with your family. It’s more like playing in the backyard like we used to do, or shutting down Depot Street. We stopped traffic most days, because we played in the middle of the road. I am excited that the boys are going to have this memory — just like Chris and I having good memories. That’s what it is all about. Looking back later in life and remember those special things. I’m excited for both these boys. When Chris and I are about 70, and watching the Atlanta Braves in our recliners, we can think back to the year 2012, when we coached against each other and our boys played against each other.”
As for the game itself Saturday, Chris, Andrew, and the Oak Mountain team defeated Jeff, Davis, and the Pell City team 16-1 in three innings.
Andrew reached base on his first at-bat thanks to catcher’s interference. He had a RBI single on his second plate appearance.
Because the game ended in three innings, Davis made just one plate appearance, and he grounded to Andrew at second base, who applied a tag to the base runner headed to second. Davis was safe at first on a fielder’s choice.
Oak Mountain finished first in pool play, and the tournament started Wednesday.
The two teams are scheduled to play again Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Contact Gary Hanner at firstname.lastname@example.org.