American League tourney team itching for opening game

Published 10:33 pm Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Troy Dixie Ozone American Tournament team is suffering through the hot temperatures of the summer, but the weather does not seem to bother the team.

“This team is really working hard and the heat is a factor, but you couldn’t tell by the boys’ effort,” head coach Billy Hixon said. “We had a three-hour practice the other day and we went to get something to eat and it was not long before the boys were back out there playing a tennis ball game.”

Hixon said the team’s dedication is great and he cannot wait for the sub-district tournament in Eufaula to start Friday.

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“The attitudes on this team are great and they have good chemistry,” Hixon said. “They all get along great and we are looking forward to getting started.”

Xavius Burden has one goal in mind.

“I’m very excited to get going and we want to go all the way to the World Series,” Burden said. “It feels good to be on this team with these guys and we are ready.”

Reilly Fox said he is excited about all that comes with being on a tournament team.

“It is fun because we get to meet new people,” Fox said. “I like hanging out with all my friends and making new friends.”

Hixon said the Americans have played well in the practice games they have participated in.

“I am pleased with how we are playing so far and we have hit the ball fairly well,” he said. “We have been stressing to our pitchers that there is a stat that says 80 percent of walks score. We are trying to drill that into their heads.”

Hixon said the team has been spending this last week of practice polishing up some of the finer points of the game.

“We have had a big focus on getting our pitching ready,” Hixon said. “Because in our practice games it has not been the hits we allowed that hurt us, it was the errors and walks. We tell our pitchers to throw strikes because they have a good defense behind them.”

The Americans open sub-district play Friday in Eufaula.