Tourney time for all-star teams

Published 12:02 am Friday, June 21, 2019


Daily News

The road to the World Series begins in Thomaston.

A pair of Troup County 9-10-year-old all-star teams will compete in the Dixie Youth Baseball district tournament in Thomaston, with the top-two finishers advancing to the state tournament in Cochran.

The state champion will qualify for the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Ruston, La.

First things first.

The four-team, double-elimination district tournament begins today, and a champion will be crowned on Monday or Tuesday.

Both Troup County teams will play today.

Troup National number two will face Thomaston at 6 p.m., while Troup National number one will play Manchester at 8 p.m.

All four teams will play again on Saturday.

The winners of Friday’s games will play at noon, while the losers of Friday’s games will meet in an elimination game at 10 a.m.

The tournament continues on Monday at 6 p.m., with the one-loss teams playing for a spot in the championship round.

The last two teams standing will play on Monday at 8 p.m., and that’ll be the final game if the unbeaten team wins.

If needed, a winner-take-all game would be played on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Both Troup teams have been hard at work for the past few weeks as they gear up for what they hope will be a winning summer.

The Troup National number one team is coached by Jason Willis, and he said “they’ve been a great group. They’ve worked hard. We’ve come a long way since the first practice. They’re coming together, and gelling.”

It helps that the majority of the players have been teammates before, either during the Troup County Parks and Recreation Commission season, or in travel baseball.

“About eight of them I help coach them in travel ball with Game On,” Willis said. “So a lot of them are used to playing with each other.”

Willis added that “we’ve got three or four that are raw, but they’ve got a lot of potential.”

Willis said he and the other coaches have spent a lot of time working with the players on defense, which he believes will be critical come tournament time.

“We concentrate on throwing and catching. The team that throws and catches will be the one that plays the longest,” Willis said. “So we do a lot of work on that.”

The Troup National number two team is made up mostly of younger players, many of whom will likely be back for another tournament run in the 9-10-year-old division next year.

“Going in, we knew we weren’t going to get the 10-year-olds, and we didn’t want it that way,” Hembree said. “I think we have four 10-year-olds, so it’s a lot of 8 and 9-year-olds. Essentially, this is building for next year.”

Hembree added that “there’s a lot of potential. It’s been fun to watch them learn each other.”

Hembree’s team will try to get things started with a win over Thomaston in today’s district opener.

A win would likely set up a showdown with the other Troup County team on Saturday in a winner’s bracket game.

“It’s huge,” Hembree said of today’s game. “If we can build that confidence and win that first night, we’d probably play them at 12 on Saturday, and that’d be a lot of fun. We know what they have.”

Regardless of what happens in district and possibly beyond, the players have received some instruction that they wouldn’t have if they hadn’t made the all-star team.

“These 12 kids would have quit baseball at the end of May,” Hembree said. “We’ve extended that five more weeks, and possibly six or seven weeks if they make it to state. That’s endless practices that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.”




All games in Thomaston



6 p.m. – Troup number two vs. Thomaston


8 p.m. – Troup number one vs. Manchester



10 a.m. – Troup-Thomaston loser vs. Troup-Manchester loser


Noon – Troup-Thomaston winner vs Troup-Thomaston winner



6 p.m. – Game three winner vs. Game four loser



8 p.m. – Game five winner vs. Game four winner



7 p.m. – Championship game