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Community supports all-star teams

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

Pizza Villa is usually closed on Mondays, but it made an exception last week.

The restaurant held a special dinner for Troup’s 11-12-year-old all-star team that will participate in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Ruston, La. that starts today.

“Pizza Villa fed our group Monday when they’re normally shut down,” said Ron Wilson, Troup’s head coach. “They opened up and they brought the boys in and kind of gave them a meal on the house. So that was awesome. Hats off to them for doing that for these boys, and making them feel special, which the whole community has. For them to open their doors when you can have a day off, that spoke volumes about the character and the people that run Pizza Villa.”

SPECIAL GUEST: Troup’s 9-10-year-old team, which will compete in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series, had a special guest at a recent practice.

Walt Harris, a LaGrange High graduate who enjoyed a successful stint in the NFL, came by to speak to the team.

“It was good,” Troup head coach Jason Willis said. “He spent about 30 minutes there, and he signed autographs, signed their gloves. It was good for him to come out there.”

Harris was a part of LaGrange’s state-championship team in 1991, and he went on to enjoy a successful collegiate career at Mississippi State.

Harris, a defensive back, then embarked on an NFL career that lasted from 1996 to 2008.

Harris played for the Bears, Colts, Redskins and 49ers, and he had 35 career interceptions and 755 tackles.

“He looks like he could play right now,” Willis said. “He’s in great shape.”

OFFERING SUPPORT: Both all-star teams have received plenty of support from the community.

From donations, to free meals, to the use of vehicles, the 9-10-year-old and 11-12-year-old teams have been the recipients of a massive outpouring of support from businesses and individuals.

“The way the community has gotten behind this is special, especially with two teams,” said Ron Wilson, coach of the 11-12-year-old team. “It’s outstanding by the community the way they’ve come and backed both of these teams.”

Jason Willis, head coach of the 9-10-year-old all-star team, is also appreciative of the help that’s been offered.

“I don’t know how many businesses have donated. It’s been great,” Willis said. “We raised a lot more than I thought we would. The community’s been great. They’ve really supported the kids. It’s pretty awesome.”