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A touch of wood

While the recreation baseball tournament is quickly approaching, one group of players will be playing for a title this weekend in Dothan.

Troy will be represented in the 2010 Dixie Boys Future Stars event June today and tomorrow, and will be taking on teams comprised of other players from throughout the Southeast.

The event will be unique in that it will feature wooden bats, rather than the usual aluminum ones.

Each team has 14 players and two coaches, and the players are split into a Wiregrass team, a Southern team, a Dixie Team, and for the first time ever, a Troy team.

“This is the first time we’ve had a team that will be made up entirely of guys from Troy, so we’re real proud of that,” said Troy head coach Sam Kitchens.

Kitchens will be joined by assistant coach Russ Harris, who coached with Kitchens on last year’s Junior Dixie Boys World Series Championship team.

“Russ Harris and I are going to coach the team, and this is our third year of coaching in this event,” Kitchens said.

“We always have a good time participating in this, and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Participation in the event is available only through invitations, which must be issued to individual players by the Dixie Boys organization.

“We had 13 or 14 guys who were pretty much invited to come and play,” Kitchens said.

“Some of them played last year, and were asked to comeback this year. Some of them applied online, and were asked to come.”

The event got underway Friday at 1 p.m., with check-in for the Wiregrass team. The Troy team checked in at 2:30 p.m., and then held a practice at 3 p.m.

Play began with a skills competition Friday at 7 p.m., where players competed in various events, such as a home run derby, base running competition, long distance and accuracy throws and other similar skill-oriented competitions.

Games begin today at 10 a.m., when Troy will battle the Southern team at 10 a.m.

Troy then takes on Dixie at 4 p.m. to wrap up play on Saturday.

Round-robin play concludes Sunday morning at 10 a.m. with Troy battling Wiregrass.

A championship game will follow at 1 p.m., with the two top teams playing for the title.

The Troy team will include Reilly Fox, Nathan Fox, Morgan Shaver, Hunter Baggett, Jason Fleming, John Johnson, Blake Craft, Xavius Burden, Brian Adams, Myles Loving, Austin Ingram and Chase Hartley, all of Troy.

Those players will be joined by Chase Hall of Union Springs and Rush Hixon of Banks.

The Dixie team will also include one player from Troy, first baseman and pitcher John Michael Stephens, giving Pike County a total of 14 players participating.