Youth baseball team getting it done
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They’re returned with a flourish.
The Game On Nationals 11-and-under baseball team was coming off a championship-winning performance at a tournament in LaGrange when their season was shut down because of the coronavirus.
After a layoff of more than three months, the Nationals returned to competition, and they haven’t skipped a beat.
The Nationals have advanced at least as far as the semifinals in all five of their tournaments since the restart, and they’ve won one championship and finished second once.
“We’re super-proud of the way they’ve played,” said Charles Mosley, who coaches the team along with Jason Willis. “They got back in the swing of things and they’ve really worked hard.”
The majority of the players were members of a Troup County all-star team that reached the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in the 10-and-under age group last summer.
“When Jason and I took the team to the World Series last summer, we have eight of those kids on this team,” Mosley said. “They’ve kind of stuck together, and they love playing together. It’s awesome. They have fun.”
Unfortunately, those players were denied an opportunity to possibly return to the World Series this summer since the recreation season was canceled.
“They were most definitely looking forward to that,” Mosley said. “It was a little bit of a bummer when they canceled the recreation season. Even though they all play travel, they all play recreation ball, too.”
Last weekend, the Nationals finished second in a tournament in Oxford, Ala. and they lost to the Montgomery Mayhem 5-2 in the championship game after winning their first three games.
“The team that beat us is the team that won the World Series last year,” Mosley said. “We remembered all those guys and were able to catch up with them. They were a really good team, but we competed really well against them. It was a lot of fun.”
Earlier this summer, the Nationals won a tournament sponsored by Ryan Klesko, the former slugger for the Atlanta Braves.
The Nationals beat the Ocee Orioles 6-3 to win the title and finish with a 4-0 tournament record, and they also got to spend some time with the tournament host.
“A lot of the boys got to meet (Klesko), and take pictures with him,” Mosley said.
Considering the long layoff, Mosley has been impressed with what the players have been able to accomplish.
“We took 96 days off, and didn’t do anything baseball-related as a group,” Mosley said. “We came back together and practiced for a couple of weeks and we’ve done really well.”
TEAM MEMBERS: Ryan Cantrell, Treylon Dean, Torreion Delaney, Nolan Haines, Blake Miller, Chase Mosley, Kaiden Russell, Matthew Skinner, Cason Spears, Brady Willis and Kaleb Woodson. The coaches are Jason Willis and Charles Mosley.