Pine Belt Athlete Goes Pro in the Baseball Field
By: Mary C. Fairley
It is the dream of many young boys to play professional baseball, and this dream has come true for a Pine Belt native.
Shortstop Malcolm Marshall has for some time looked forward to celebrating his 29th birthday on the very same day he takes the field for the Josh Gibson All-stars. Marshall plans to wear his lucky number “7” jersey throughout the inaugural season of the National Urban Professional Baseball League (NUPBL), which opened on May 25, 2018, at Wooten-Legion Field in Laurel.
Marshall began his baseball career at age eight. In high school, he played for the Hattiesburg High Tigers and then continued his baseball vocation and education at Coahoma Community College, located near Clarksdale, and at Shawnee State University in Carrollton, Ohio. When he returned home to Mississippi he joined a semi-professional baseball team, the Laurel Black Cats. Now, Marshall has been given the chance to play professional baseball.
He said playing for the NUPBL fulfilled a dream, not only for himself, but for everyone who made the team. A veteran of MLB tryouts, he knew what to expect. Signing day was on December 17, 2017.
“I could never forget the day and moment I was officially able to sign my professional contract,” he reminisced. It was cherished and special.
“My advice to parents that have children playing baseball is to make sure they are staying active in it,” he suggested. “Let them know they will not win every game, and it is okay. Be their biggest fan, and support them no matter what. Also, let them know they played a great game regardless of the outcome.”
The old adages were true in the case of the NUPBL. Good things came to those who wait, and hard work paid off. Marshall encourages children by telling them his story.
“They may not get it the first time around,” he explained, “but they have to keep working at it if it is something they want to do in the future.”
He prepared for opening day by getting in better shape, working out, eating healthier, and getting his mind and body right.
“This league is something special. Great things are about to happen,” he promised. “We are doing this not only for the city of Laurel, but the state of Mississippi, and to tell kids, no matter what, always chase their dreams.”
Much can be learned from this fine young man. We hope you had the best birthday ever, Malcolm Marshall!
Home games include:
June 4-6 (Monday-Wednesday) — Dallas, TX @ Laurel, MS
June 14-17 (Thursday-Sunday) — Millington, TN @ Laurel, MS
June 28-July 1 (Thursday-Sunday) — Mississippi @ Laurel, MS
July 12-15 (Thursday-Sunday) — Millington, TN @ Laurel, MS
July 19-22 (Thursday-Sunday) — Mississippi @ Laurel, MS
August 2-5 (Thursday-Sunday) — Dallas, TX @ Laurel, MS
August 16-19 (Thursday-Sunday) — Millington, TN @ Laurel, MS
August 25-27 — Playoffs
Game time is at 7 p.m. (Monday-Saturday), Sunday and selected weekday games will be scheduled for midday games.
Tuesdays: open mic night
Wednesdays: jazz/blues night
Thursdays: senior citizen day (brunch with the team)
Fridays: gospel night
Saturdays: family and friends old school night
Sundays: game day at the park
Mary C. Fairley is a freelance writer and a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a wife, mother and grandmother of five beloved grandchildren. This season, Mary will be watching her grandson play coach pitch baseball. Readers of “Parents & Kids–South Mississippi” will probably hear her cheering.