• 77°

Junior Boys ready

The Dixie Boys 13-year-old tournament team is looking to lean on its defensive prowess when the district tournament begins on July 6.

“Our defense will be solid and I really believe the key to it will be our pitching and our defense,” head coach Sam Kitchens said.

Kitchens said he has been pleased with the way the Junior Boys have bonded during its short time together.

“We’ve come a long way in the last week,” Kitchens said. “Their chemistry has been real good and I’m looking forward to some competition to see how we play. I expect good things out of us.”

The newfound chemistry of the team only adds to what Kitchens said was an already talented roster.

“We’ve got a good balanced team,” Kitchens said. “We’ve got five to seven kids who can pitch a little.”

Despite the depth and talent of the team at the outset of practice, Kitchens said there has been noted improvement.

“They’ve come a long way defensively,” he said. “They’ve been a good group to work with. They’re hard workers.”

The road to a district championship will be a tough one, as Troy opens the tournament against Greenville.

“It’s going to be tough,” Kitchens said. “We open up with Greenville, who finished second in the state in traditional Dixie Youth last year.”

Despite the tough opening-round draw, Kitchens said his team has confidence in its abilities.

“We’ve got an excellent chance to win the tournament if we come out and play like we’re capable of,” Kitchens said.

The Dixie Boys 13-year-old tournament team includes Brian Adams, Chandler Avant, Tripp Blackmon, Blake Craft, Nathan Fox, John Johnson, Taylor Lord, Myles Loving, Morgan Shaver, Chase Smartt, John Michael Stephens and Rhett Tucker.

Kitchens is the head coach, while the assistant coaches are Russ Harris and Allen Blackmon.