The final pieces

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Baseball is a game that requires a team to have all its players on the same page.

Sometimes, players are asked to do more to help a team move in the right direction.

That is the case for the Dixie Youth O-Zone Rookie tournament team.

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With just a few days away from the start of the District Tournament, the Troy team finds itself looking to put the final pieces in place and that process has helped the team take huge steps, according to head coach Ashley Floyd.

“It’s the kid’s attitude,” he said at the team’s practice.

“The first couple of days out here, it seemed like the team didn’t really want it, but lately, they have been fired up. They can’t wait till the next time they get on the field.”

Floyd said a big reason the team’s mentality changed was thanks in large part to this past weekend, when the team participated in a warm-up tournament.

Even though the team suffered a one-run defeat in its first game to Enterprise, it came back and defeated its next opponent, Wakulla County, by 12 runs.

“They got to play against an opponent and they showed that they could win,” the coach said. “And I think that made all the difference in the world.”

“After that win, it seemed like this team really turned the page and started believing in themselves,” the coach added.

A big part of any successful team is its ability to pitch.

While the Troy team has pitchers, Floyd said he is concerned about what they will have come tournament team.

“We have all 11-year-olds, who have been playing with 12-year-olds.

“A lot of our pitchers saw sometime on the mound, but they spent a lot of the time in the field during the [recreation] season, so it would be tough for them to just start getting ready to pitch – but they are working hard and preparing for the tournaments,” Floyd said.

The coach continued by saying the transition for the pitchers has been easier than he thought it was going to be.

“The kids all are stepping up and each are willing to do what it takes to help the team win,” he said.

This past weekend, Floyd had his entire pitcher staff throw off the mound to get ready for the upcoming District tournament.

Two of those pitchers were Jackson Murphy and Bryson Gandy.

“This team is really coming together,” Murphy said before taking batting practice.

“Coach [Floyd] has talked to us a lot about having the right attitude, no matter what. And that is something that a lot of the players have done.

“I think we are a pretty good team right now. We still have a lot to do – but I think we will be ready,” he said.

Like Murphy, Gandy said he likes what he has seen from his team.

“We have been improving every day. I think we are going to be ready to play in the tournaments and I think we are going to be ready to win.”

There are a few other pieces to the puzzle that Floyd believes need to fall in place for this team to finish where it wants to finish.

“We need to start hitting the ball to the opposite field and we need to work on our defense a little more as well – but the team is taking huge steps in the right direction,” he said. “We are close to tournament ready.”

Troy will be the home team this weekend as it plays in the District Tournament, starting on Friday.