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The 2011 Dixie Youth All-Star tournaments kick-off Thursday for all West Point area teams. The boys and girls look to get a few wins over the next four days, all eying a trip to Southaven for the World Series.
8U girls - Eupora
Although weather has put a damper on a handful of practices for the girls, head coach Ken Wright feels that wonâ€™t have to much of an effect on the team.
â€śWe havenâ€™t had as many practices as we would have liked,â€ť he said. â€śBut I feel pretty good about our team.â€ť
Wright said the girls can swing the bat well and they will try to use that to their advantage, however the lack of experience might be a factor. But he says several of the girls have played together all season and their chemistry should be solid.
12U girls - West Point
Head coach Keith Holton said â€śteam speedâ€ť will play a key role on the teamâ€™s success as they battle Saltillo in the opening round on Thursday.
â€śThe girls have a commitment to learn the game, and thatâ€™s always a plus,â€ť he said.
The girls he admits, donâ€™t have the experience playing at this level. However, they will be in front of their friends and family as well as the community.
â€śTheyâ€™re really excited and motivated to do the best they can,â€ť he said.
8U boys Nationals - Louisville
The Nationals had the opportunity to gel a little bit with about four practice games and played in a tournament in Pontotoc where they finished second.
Head coach Sherman Berry says the boys are solid defensively and strong with the bats.
â€śWe need to work on our baseball knowledge, just some of the small things,â€ť he said. With a field of 17 teams in the tournament, the Nationals are guaranteed at least three games before the championships.
8U boys Americans - Louisville
â€śMy outfield is going to be our strong point and if they come out an hit the ball, they can compete with anybody,â€ť head coach Tim White said. â€śWeâ€™re going to give it a whirl.â€ť
He admits itâ€™s a challenge to keep them focused because of their age but knows the teams they will be up against are still going to be tough. â€śSome of our boys have come along way since last year, but some of these kids in the tournament are good. Itâ€™s like watching Sports Center.â€ť
10U boys - Columbus
The 10U boys have been hitting the practice fields ever since they were selected, and head coach Jonathan Edwards has confidence in their abilities.
â€śWeâ€™ve moved these guys around so much, they can play in any position,â€ť he said. â€śEveryone knows their teammates next move.â€ť
Ten of the 12 players on the squad have been playing together on a travel team. Edwards says the boys have had a really positive attitude since practice has started which has been a plus.
â€śYour attitude reflects who you are on the field and itâ€™s contagious.â€ť They open the tournament with Clinton.