Twenty years ago today, with former Delta State star Jeremy McClain on the mound and Meridian High product Gerard McCall behind the plate, the Jackson Senators played their first home game, drawing a crowd announced at 3,475 to Smith-Wills Stadium. They lost 7-6, but no matter. The game marked the return of pro ball to Jackson after a year without a team, and there was genuine excitement in the old yard. The Texas League franchise (Mets/Generals) left after a 25-year run in 1999, and the independent DiamondKats — a bad team that drew poorly — lasted just one season. The Senators, also an independent playing in the newly reorganized Central Baseball League, lasted four years, winning a league championship in 2003. The arrival of the Double-A Mississippi Braves in Pearl in 2005 ultimately led to the Sens’ demise. The first Senators club, managed by Dan Shwam, was a good one. The roster included Meridian native Tommy Bost — who hit the first homer in that home opener — Southern Miss product Brandon Parker, former big leaguer Jeff Ware, Kyle Hawthorne, Garret Osilka, Juan Moreno, Peanut Williams, Russ Herbert and Yuji Nerei, to name a few. They won the first-half title in the CBL East and made it to the league finals in the postseason, losing the decisive fifth game.