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Behind the plate: Meridian 13U All Star Baseball team preparing for World Series

“It’s just a fun game to play that I enjoy playing, and I don’t have to worry about anything else but playing baseball when I’m on the field,” said Peryn Bland, who plays 2nd base on the Meridian 13U Baseball team that’s heading to the World Series in Massachusetts next week. “I’m proud of the guy. I mean, he plays a lot of baseball and has a lot of baseball hours in him. He’s very competitive. He’s a gamer. He has a big heart, and he always plays with a lot of heart. He can play every position on the field, so he can play all nine positions,” said Mayor Percy Bland, who is Peryn’s father and is also an assistant coach. While Peryn has been to Massachusetts to visit family many times, he said he’s really most excited about no one knowing who he is. “Here they just know me—most people that aren’t my friends just consider me the mayor’s son—but there they won’t know who I am. I’ll just be a regular person.”

On the other side of the county deep into the country, one of the other players is preparing to experience a completely different lifestyle. “I’m just a little nervous about being on the plane. It’s just a lot more fast-paced than being around here. It’s just going to be a lot more stuff,” said Jace Wiggins. Jace spends his days on a farm where he feeds cows, does yard work, and even house work. “Hard work pays off on anything. If it’s him toting a weed-eater every weekend, picking up trash at a truck stop, or working out—everything pays off, so he gets a whole life environment of hard work,” said Jace’s dad, Jason Wiggins.

Jace’s father has pushed him in every aspect in life, whether that be on the field or at home, which has driven his mentality to succeed. “There’s never nothing to do here, you never get bored. It’s helped a lot, and if you don’t work hard out here, you’re not going to work hard anywhere,” said Jace. The team will be hosting a fundraiser on Saturday from 11am until 4pm at Raising Cane’s on North Hills Street.

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