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Troy 14-year-olds will play Daphne

Sports Editor

The Troy 14-year-old Dixie Boys team will play Daphne in the first round of the state tournament on Saturday, July 22 at 4 p.m. in Dothan.

Troy head coach Butch VanHorn said he had the opportunity to watch Daphne last season, when they competed in the 13-year-old state tournament.

"They are real fundamentally sound and don’t make many mistakes," he said. "They like to put the ball in play and run the bases, much like us."

VanHorn said his team needs to come out and win on Saturday, so they can receive the much-coveted bye until Monday.

VanHorn said he would like to pitch his son Pete for at least four innings on Saturday and added that Chase Kelly, who missed districts with a pulled ligament, should also be available for the first game.

"If we had needed him, Chase could’ve pitched last Wednesday night," VanHorn said. Troy defeated Abbeville for the title 11-0. Pete VanHorn pitched a no-hitter and struck out ten batters. "Chase should be about 95 percent by this coming Saturday and we need to get him back into the rotation and let him pitch a few innings."

VanHorn said his team has to come ready to play for every game.

"We’ve got eight or nine kids on this team who have won three district championships as they’ve come up in age," VanHorn said. "But they’ve never been able to get to the World Series. We have a chance this year to do that."

VanHorn added that this year’s 14-year-old team is about as exciting as they come out on the baseball diamond.

"When they’re playing ball like they’re capable of, this team is fun to watch," he said.