Guest pitchers help Troy prep for World Series

Published 9:58 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

During the Junior Dixie Boys travels this tournament season, the team has had a good showing of support from its hometown crowd on the road with them.

No matter the distance, whether in Eufaula or Scottsboro, it seemed the team in camouflage had people in the stands cheering it on.

“We have received a great amount of support from the community,” head coach Gary Fox said. “And it really is quite a humbling experience.”

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“I have known that we had a special team, but to see the community respond like it has, has made things really special – we have a great community,” he said.

And now, with the team so close to winning the biggest title in tournament play, the community is looking to do more than just cheer to help aid the team.

In an effort to get the team prepared for what’s to come this weekend, the team will be getting a look at what some of the best arms in the city have got, as several different pitchers have stepped up to throw to the team during batting practice.

Some of the pitchers coming in to throw to the team include former and current high school baseball players from Troy, such as Ross Hixon, Houston Mabrey, Jonathan Blair, Chandler Avant and Tripp Blackmon.

“This is a great way for us to prepare for some tough competition,” the coach added.

The idea to have guest pitchers come in during the team practice was one that Fox and the other coaches started to discuss on the way home from Scottsboro, and one that they got from a coach who is familiar to playing in the World Series – Sam Kitchens.

“I know it means a lot to the guys,” Fox said about the different pitchers. “And it really means a lot to me and the other coaches.”

“(Leading up to this week) myself or one of the coaches would do a lot of the pitching during practices, so we wanted to switch it up a bit.

“We know that Sam Kitchens had done this a lot with this teams through the years, and it worked for his teams,” the coach added. “Plus, this is some of the best pitching our guys are going to see, so if they do well now, I think we will do well during the tournament.”

Hixon, who has a younger brother, Rush, on the team, said he is just doing his part in helping the team.

“I’m just here to do whatever I can to help,” he said before throwing to the team during Monday’s practice.

“I know a lot of these kids and they have all done a great job so far, and if I can help them get better that’s great too.”