Dixie Youth Baseball: All Star Team Players Announced – Brackets Set – Practice Started!
There was activity once again at the George Harris Complex in LaGrange, GA as practice has started for the Dixie Youth Baseball All Star tournament. Troup County will have teams representing the 8 year olds, 9/10 year olds and 11/12 year olds. Troup County has historically been very strong in this tournament with consistent presence at the divisional, state and national competitions. This year looks to be the same with a very talented pool of young athletes. Kerry Whaley, Superintendent of Athletics for Troup County Parks and Recreation admits that “selection of the players is always a challenging exercise given the talent we have in our county in baseball. We feel good about the selection this year and know that it will allow some of the young players to participate in a tournament for the first time.” Players for the Dixie All Star teams are selected from those that participated in the regular season baseball. Coaches are selected from the winning teams of each of the age brackets.
Four new counties will be a part of the tournament this year: Taylor County, Lamar County, Schley County and Marion County. This is more of an indication that Georgia continues to be a strong baseball state and produce players that consistently compete at higher levels
The real challenge for the coaches and players of the all star teams began last week with the beginning of practice. There are essentially two weeks for these young athletes to come together as team. As Kerry says, “each of them has new teammates, new coaches and potentially new positions to learn in a very short time frame.” Thus, the coaches are faced with managing the potential excitement of the players and making certain that the competition does not take away from the fun in the sport.
When asked about the upcoming tournament, each of the coaches were honored to have the opportunity to work with these young athletes and represent our county. Coach Edward Kelly of the 8 year old Troup National team said “My goal for this team is to win some ball games, but more importantly that we represent Troup County to the best of our abilities – which is character, sportsmanship, baseball skill s and teamwork. I am honored to be a part of this team and truly enjoy being in the community making an impact on the next generation of students and athletes.”
Coach Rusty Taylor of the 9/10 year old Troup American team said “It is truly an honor to be representing Troup County as the Troup American coach. It had been very exciting watching these boys come together as a team and we are looking forward to the upcoming District tournament. ”
Curt Longshore has been a coach in this tournament for the past 4 years and will be leading Troup Conty’s 11/12 year old team. He commented that “This particular team is a unique bunch. There is a lot of characters who keep things light for everyone and they just make the game of baseball fun. We are a talented bunch that I really think are going to shine when the lights come on.” He feels that “if we play our brand of baseball and play aggressively offensively and minimize our mistakes defensively and get ground balls pitching then I like our chances against anyone.”
Congratulations to the players and coaches that were selected to be a part of this year’s tournament! We will be in the stands cheering!