All-star team ready for tourney run

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2016

LAGRANGE – The players haven’t had a whole lot of time on the field together, but Troup County all-star coach Lee Wood doesn’t figure that’ll be a problem.

Because of some rainouts, the Troup County Parks and Recreation Comission 9-10-year-old baseball season ended up going a little longer than expected.

Consequently, the all-star team was selected later than usual, and the players have had a little more than two weeks of practice time, and they’ll be on the field on Friday for the start of the Dixie Youth Baseball District 1 tournament that will be played at the Harris Baseball Complex.

While Wood would have preferred to have some more time with the players before opening tournament play, he said it shoudn’t be an issue since they all know each other so well.

“A lot of them go to school with each other,” Wood said. “The ones that didn’t play on the same team during the league, they still go to school together. Some of them play on the weekend together on Game On. It’s been easy getting them to be friends. It’s been a pretty easy transition for them.”

The tournament gets under way on Friday, and Troup County, Hogansville, Manchester and Thomaston will be competing to make it through to state.

The state tournament winner will earn an invitation to the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in August.

Wood, who was a former Dixie Youth Baseball all-star himself, said this is a special time for the players.

“I pulled out some of my old programs. The first one I pulled out was from 1986, the state tournament in Albany,” Wood said. “We were 12 that year. There’s something that goes along with the word all-star. You get to hold your head up a little bit higher.”

Wood said putting together this all-star team was a challenge.

In past years, there were two 9-10-year-old all-star teams, but there is just one this year.

“When we did the all-star selection, each coach had to nominate 15 players from the master list,” Wood said. “The first 11 or 12 for me were shoe-ins. The last three, I had eight or nine kids that it took me a few days to really think about it a lot.”

Wood said the players have been great to work with so far.

“These are such a good group of kids,” Wood said. “They’re well-mannered, well-behaved.”

Wood is hoping that having the tournament at home will be a benefit for his players.

“There’s always an advantage to playing in your backyard,” he said.

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesport

Troup set for opening game on Friday

By Kevin Eckleberry