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 won’t have to much of an effect on the team.
“We haven’t had as many practices as we would have liked,” he said. “But I feel pretty good about our team.”
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 “team speed” will play a key role on the team’s success as they battle Saltillo in the opening round on Thursday.
“The girls have a commitment to learn the game, and that’s always a plus,” he said.
The girls he admits, don’t have the experience playing at this level. However, they will be in front of their friends and family as well as the community.
“They’re really excited and motivated to do the best they can,” 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.
“We need to work on our baseball knowledge, just some of the small things,” 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
“My outfield is going to be our strong point and if they come out an hit the ball, they can compete with anybody,” head coach Tim White said. “We’re going to give it a whirl.”
He admits it’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. “Some of our boys have come along way since last year, but some of these kids in the tournament are good. It’s like watching Sports Center.”
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.
“We’ve moved these guys around so much, they can play in any position,” he said. “Everyone knows their teammates next move.”
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.
“Your attitude reflects who you are on the field and it’s contagious.” They open the tournament with Clinton.