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Judge Hentz McClellan stepping down

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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

Website URL:

So you think baseball is easy?

  • Published in Sports

Ballfields are soon to be wide open with kids of all ages looking for that first hit, first homerun, a caught fly ball, any of those ‘first’ moments.  Rest assured they will be looking in the stands to see how many are cheering them on, calling their name with a “good job”, “that’s my boy”, “that’s my girl!”  That is what America’s pastime is supposed to be, making memories.  How parents react to their child’s first exposure to this sport can determine their love or dislike for the game.  

Some months back, M sent me a chart of sorts.  It listed, much like the one in the picture, the number of players in tee ball. It moved up a few leagues, then to high school.  From high school, they gave the numbers for college players, then the numbers for those players drafted.  Finally, at the top and the very smallest piece of the pie came the number of MLB players.  

Parents head to the fields in groves when their tee-ballers hit the field, girls with pink gloves and bats, and boys with the rough looking gear.  Tee ball is fun, players fight over who’s going to get the ball, parents laugh and compare how advanced their children are to where others are.  The next step should be coach pitch.  But tee ball has more or less become coach pitch. Parents re-invented a wheel that had worked just fine for decades when they decided what had worked for years and what major leaguers use today to fine tune their swing in the off-season was too basic for their child.  Coaches pitch to ‘tee-ballers’ and if after numerous attempts they can’t hit it, they put a tee there for them to hit the ball.  What does this tell a child?  Johnny hit the ball in the outfield when coach pitched to him but I had to have a tee? Am I not good?  Think about it – five years old and already defeated.  This writing will not change one thing I assure you.  But it will give those who have not followed the transition of rec ball a heads up on what has changed.  So, here we have kids going from seeing a ball at maybe 15 miles an hour in tee ball from a coach throwing underhanded to a machine pitch ball at 42 miles an hour in just two short years.  WOW!  And we wonder why teams drop drastically when the kid pitch league starts at the next level.  Then we get to kid pitch at the ripe old age of NINE!  You hear it immediately, “Man he’s throwing the heat, 75 miles an hour last night, he’s going places.”  “Look at that curve ball, it’s killer.”  Truer words have never been spoken.  If a 9-13-year old cannot get a batter out on a fastball or a change up, he might want to look for another profession or at least another position on the baseball field.  Look at the increase in surgeries over the last decade.  Year-round throwing, throwing curve balls too early before the arm and shoulder are developed, throwing back-to-back games, 100 plus pitches a week all are contributors to this.  And I love the dad who says, “He can throw 100 pitches and do it again tomorrow if he has to, he’s tough I’m telling you.”  Oh yes, he’s tough and he’s tougher with those rubber arms he just bought himself for having done that.  Then, if you are not tired of America’s sport, your next step is high school.

At the high school level, you have to compete to make the team, then compete to make the starting lineup.  Those who don’t make the lineup live with the name ‘benchers’ and heaven forbid it you are not on varsity when you get to high school, you may want to find another sport.  No room for late bloomers whatsoever.  

College separates the wheat from the shaft for a lot of players.  Competition is tougher and everyone is out to claim a starting spot on the field each game knowing there will be Major League scouts there checking out every game.  The MLB Amateur draft comes the first week in June and adrenalin is running wild with emotions.  Players are convinced if they don’t go early, they won’t make it to the show.  Look at the stats of those successful major leaguers.  One close to home is Jose Bautista- Jose was a 20th round draft choice by Pittsburgh Pirates in 2000.  He had his major-league debut in 2004.  His history speaks for itself.  On the flip side of that is Marianna’s own Jeff Mathis who was a first-round draft choice by the Anaheim Angels in 2001.  Mathis debuted in August of 2005.  His success tells it all. 

Two different players from two different walks of life, both with the same dream, the same determination, made the dream happen.  Hard work, good living, and a little bit of being in the right place at the right time probably played a part in where they are today.  So when your tee-ball hits the field this season, cheer him on, keep it positive and save the critiquing until the real scouts are there!

Sneads Pirates excel at regionals in weightlifting

  • Published in Sports

The Sneads Pirates spent part of their spring break at weightlifting regionals.  When all was over, the Pirates were excited to have foregone part of their vacation time.   As a team, Sneads finished third behind Godby and Blountstown.

Sneads came away with two regional champs and one runner up.  They had one in third place, one in fourth, and a fifth-place finisher. 

Devante Pollock is the 169 class Regional Champion.  Anthony Terry is the 129 class Regional Champion.  

Taking the runner up spot was Mitchell Fontenot in the 119 class.   Hunter Barnes finished third in the 199 class with Tyler Dawson took fourth place, with Tyler Lawrence taking fifth in the 183-weight class. 

Three weightlifters will advance to state.  Anthony Terry is tied for first.  Mitchell Fontenot is in sixth place in the 119 class.  Devante Pollock is ranked 10th in the 169 class but he is 25 pounds from 5th place.

Coach Bill Thomas says of his weightlifters, “These young men are hard workers and handle pressure well.  I’m excited about the opportunity ahead of them.  Our goal is to score enough points to get into the top 10 in the state.  I felt like all of my lifters at region gave it their all.  They have spent most everyday over spring break working toward their goal.  We did not advance quantity but the ones who will represent our school they are quality.”

The staff at the Jackson County Times congratulates these fine athletes on their accomplishments and wishes them the best at state.

Judge Hentz McClellan stepping down

Judge Hentz McClellan made it official Monday that he would be stepping down from his judgeship effective June 30, 2017.  In a letter addressed to Honorable Rick Scott, McClellan says, “Dear Governor Scott: Please accept this letter as an announcement of my retirement and my resignation from the office of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Judge, effective June 30, 2017.  It has been a privilege and honor to serve the people of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit and State of Florida for the past 15 years.  This notice is given to you in advance of my retirement with the hope that you may appoint my successor before I leave office.”

McClellan has been in office since 2003 and has served in all six counties of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit.  He has practiced law with offices in Calhoun, Jackson, and Bay counties.  McClellan is a graduate of Florida State University College of Law.  

In an interview with the TIMES Tuesday, McClellan said, “It’s been a real pleasure to serve.  I’ve gotten to serve with a great number of judges and an excellent staff.  I have enjoyed working with all the people in the six counties in our circuit.  They’ve made it a rewarding experience.  As Chief Judge, the clerks have been great, Court Administrator Jan Shadburn, and great assistants in Robyn Gable, Carol Dunaway, Amber Baggett and many others but they were the catalyst.”  

Congratulations to Judge McClellan on his service on the bench from the staff at the Jackson County Times.

What Is Missing?

The Times offices was contacted Monday about the local Social Security not displaying a portrait of the President of the United States.  A visit to the Veteran’s Clinic on Highway 90 showed a picture of our current President Donald Trump displayed.  

Steve Anderson said he was concerned because he had previously seen President Barack Obama’s portrait hanging during his tenure in office at the President of the United States.  According to Anderson, “I asked someone in the office if the manager was available and she said no. I asked who the manager was and she said, ‘Jackie Justice’ and that she would be back Wednesday.  I asked why there wasn’t a picture of President Trump hanging and the lady didn’t respond.  I then asked if there was a picture of President Trump available and she said that yes there was, they had received one about two or three weeks ago and it was management’s decision to not hang it.”  

Wednesday the TIMES reporter visited the Marianna Social Security Office and attempted to take a picture of the blank wall with brackets attached suitable for the hanging of a picture but we were told no pictures could be taken inside.  We asked to see Jackie Justice and after questioning as to why we were there, we were told she was not in the office.  Another gentleman came to the front area and asked what we needed.  His badge was not visible in the holder attached to his belt.  The gentleman was asked why there was not a picture of the President of the United States hanging in the government building.  He asked why the question and was told the TIMES had been contacted and the information we received was given to him.  He immediately said, “Let me get a number for you to call, they will have to answer that question.”  The man returned and asked for credentials which he was supplied.  He took both the office and cell number and said someone would be calling. 

At 11:05 a call from Patty Patterson out of the Atlanta office was made to the TIMES.  She repeated the same question as to what was the problem and we explained to her the situation.  She was told there had been a picture for several years of President Barack Obama but there was now a blank wall and no picture of President Donald Trump.  She was advised of what we had been told as far as there was a picture in the building but management had chosen not to hang it.  She said we would be receiving a call from someone who could address that issue.  At that time she was informed that of our deadline.  

As of press time, no call has been received at the TIMES Office related to the Marianna Social Security Office not displaying a picture of President Donald Trump.  

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