Pitching Machine team primed for tournament run

Published 10:15 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Troy’s Pitching Machine tournament team includes: Nathan Braisted, Adrian Cardwell, DeAndrey Henderson, Brady Huner, Press Jefcoat, Skyler Kidd, Darryl Lee, Drew Nelson, Noah Prestwood, Ben Reeves, Laquavin Rodgers, Bailey Sparrow. Coaches are David Nelson, Chris Huner, James Sparrow, and Billy Jefcoat. (Photo/Wes Johnson)

By Andy Simmons

According to the astronomical calendar, summer starts on June 20th.

That hasn’t stopped some of Pike County’s local children from visiting the pool and having a lackadaisical effort toward, well, pretty much anything that involves schoolwork. Summer for them has officially begun and, like most kids during the summer, are looking forward to long days of doing nothing.

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Some of these kids, however, are preparing for their time in the spotlight on the diamond.

With the summer, comes summer baseball – a time where kids are hard at work vigorously training for the tournament weeks ahead that will test their physical and mental strength, and the Troy Pitching Machine Tournament team is no exception.

Head coach David Nelson enters his second year at the helm with this group, and he is looking to bring a winning formula to the equation this go-around.

“I’m just teaching them hard work, learning to show up and giving everything they’ve got, every single day. Practice like you’re ready to play because you’re going to play the way we practice, and to just make a commitment to give everything you’ve got,” Nelson said.

Nelson is also confident in the selection of players that he and his coaching staff made.

“The best 12 players are on the team and if they give everything they’ve got, then we’re going to put together the best team to represent Troy and we’ll go as far as we want to go,” Nelson said.

The team has already shown what kind of damage they are capable of inflicting in a warm-up tournament hosted by Troy Parks and Recreation at the Sportsplex this past weekend, where they outscored all three of their opponents by a combined score of 52-9 in three games.

The District 6 Pitching Machine tournament team certainly has high expectations going into the postseason tournament, with all the focus being on how Nelson wants these kids to succeed.

“It’s not about us (the coaching staff)” Nelson said.

“We’re out here because we love these kids, we love being around them. They’re a great group of kids and it’s fun being out here around them. We appreciate them, we appreciate their commitment to the team and we appreciate their parents being committed to the team and showing up.”

The Pitching Machine district tournament team will begin play June 15th in Luverne as Troy takes on Eufaula at 6 p.m.