Blast to the past

Published 10:37 pm Thursday, June 18, 2009

Four Troy youth joined others from the Wiregrass area and made it to the Sweet 16 last week.

Hunter Baggett, Chase Hartley, Rush Hixon and Austin Ingram traveled to Cooperstown, N.Y. to the home of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame and the Cooperstown Dreams Park 102-team single elimination tournament.

The quartet took the trip with Team Bama and went 7-2 in the tournament last week and lost to the tournament runner-up.

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“It was great to know we were playing on the same field some MLB players once played on,” Hixon said. “We felt like we were a part of something special.”

Each Troy player had individual success during the tournament and they each had at least one home run.

“That was the best feeling I have ever had playing baseball when I hit that home run in that park,” Hixon said.

Ingram said being amongst so many baseball players from around the country was interesting.

“Just being out there and playing baseball with a whole different group of kids was awesome,” he said. “Just being there made me feel special because not every kid gets to play up there.”

Ingram said knowing some of his teammates was an added plus during the tournament and now after the tournament is finished.

“It was cool to know some people up there and when we came home I know I would have someone to talk about the experience with,” Ingram said.

All four of the boys said they enjoyed playing in the games, but Hartley said the off-field activities grabbed his interest as well.

“The Hall of Fame was definitely my favorite part of the trip,” he said. “Just seeing all the different kids of old stuff was sweet.”

Baggett said going through the town was an interesting experience.

“The whole week was a great experience and going through the town was neat because it was small just like Troy,” Baggett said.

Team Bama was put out of the tournament on a walk-off home run, but Hartley said coming back from down many runs was the best part of that game. Bama may not have won the tournament, but all the Troy players involved said they enjoyed the week at the Hall.

Hixon said he would recommend the trip to any baseball fan, but especially one group.

“I think every baseball player should get to go at least once,” he said.

Team Bama may not have grabbed the gold, but the four Troy boys who took the weeklong trip now have a lifelong memory.