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Coahoma Taps DeSoto County with Pala Signing back button

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The wealth of baseball talent in DeSoto County is attracting coaches and scouts at all levels, from junior colleges, to small and major four-year schools, and even the professional ranks. 

Established and fledgling programs looking to build a program are finding the strength of talent in DeSoto County is cause to be heading to the area to recruit.

Case in point is the signing this week of Hernando pitcher Brian Pala, who was signed by Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale.

Coahoma is coached by DeSoto County native Lee Hodge, a product of Ole Miss who played minor league baseball in the Texas Rangers' system before embarking on a law enforcement career, and now a coaching career.

Hodge finished his first season with the Tigers struggling through a 7-37 season, but is confident the infusion of new talent, including players from DeSoto County like Pala, will make the Tigers contenders.

"They can come in and make an immediate impact," Hodge said. "We're going to get good players and we are going to win. Guys like Pala chose us over other offers, including four-year colleges, but he bought in and he believes in me and Coahoma and I believe in him. He's really going to help us out."

Pala, who also struggled through part of the Hernando Tigers' spring season with injuries, is most often described as having a "live" arm.

"He's got two good pitches including a good curve ball that he can throw for a strike," said Hernando assistant coach Chris Haley. "He works hard and he can definitely be a good college player."

Pala, who calls the change up his best pitch, likes what he is seeing from the Coahoma Tigers.

"I think it's going to be a good program because there's definitely a few kids coming who are good baseball players over there," Pala said.

Haley said Coahoma will benefit from schools that have strong high school programs with players that often do not get the notoriety some teammates receive.

"When you have some teams, for example DeSoto Central, when they have some success, you have those scappy players that get overlooked and that are really good ball players, good kids, and they deserve to play at the next level," Haley said. "Sometimes they just get overlooked."

Hodge said he will recruit all across the state of Mississippi, but knows the talent pool will be plentiful here.

"Summer programs here play a ton of baseball," Hodge said. "We have outstanding baseball programs up here in DeSoto County as well as other places in Mississippi that we are tapping into."

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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