By Will Nations
Three youth baseball players hit the diamond with their minds set on winning tournaments and improving their skill sets during summer months. â€¨West Point natives Manning Huffman, Gray Berry and Jonah Caskey played in 12 tournaments throughout the past three months with the Starkville-based travel team Swing Elite, a Triple-A affiliate of the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA). The West Point group began its summer season in Ridgeland and wrapped it up recently at the USSSA U-11 World Series in Gulf Shores, Ala. â€¨Last week, Elite Swing finished as the No. 16 team out of 41 teams at the USSSA World Series in Gulf Shores. The team qualified for the second-tier bracket, seeds No. 9-16, after winning three games in pool play. The team exited after two straight losses in the double-elimination bracket.
Despite falling short in the World Series, Huffman, who played catcher and outfielder, liked the travel ball experience. The sixth-grader at Oak Hill Academy said traveling added to the excitement of competing against various teams from other states.
â€śThe teams from Mississippi and out of state were really good,â€ť Huffman said. â€śI liked traveling, and I think we did pretty well against everybody we played.â€ť
Huffman enjoyed a hot start to the weekend of games, going 7-of-11, at the plate, as the lead-off batter.
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