Troy “O”Zone team preparing for postseason run

Published 9:35 pm Monday, June 18, 2012

Troy's Dixie O-Zone team is pictured during practice on Monday, June 18.

By Andy Simmons

Tournament baseball begins this weekend and teams are frantically preparing their squads for the grueling challenges ahead of them in the upcoming weeks, with an entire community monitoring their every move.

One of those teams is the Dixie Youth “O”Zone Tournament team, which consists of 12 of Troy’s finest adolescent baseball players.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The team is administered by coach Derek Wilkes, who had been an assistant coach for the ozone team and head coach of the 10-year-old squad a couple of years ago, but is poised to take the squad he has to the top.

His formula for these kids to have a success summer is a simple one.

“Good pitching and good hitting,” Wilkes said.

“They’ve been playing together for three years now. We all know one another and we should be in good shape.”

Many members of team have already competed in a warm-up tournament this past weekend, The Cal Ripken Experience, in Myrtle Beach, SC, where teams from all across the southeast gather to compete for supremacy. Wilkes team went 5-0 in pool play before being eliminated in the second round of tournament play.

Wilkes is hoping for a deep run in the upcoming tournament this weekend here, with a key factor being that his squad is deeper than an Olympic sized swimming pool.

“We’ve got seven or eight kids that can pitch for us, so we’re deep,” Wilkes said.

Win or lose, Wilkes just wants these kids to enjoy their time on the diamond.

“Any day on the baseball field is a good day.” Wilkes said.

The “O”Zone team will take on teams from all across the southeast this weekend in Troy as the Troy Sportsplex hosts the Dixie Youth “O”Zone Tournament.

Members of the team include: Spencer Floyd, Dawson Hamlin, Reed Jinright, Wood Jinright, Ridge Knotts, Jumir Lampley, Cole Little, Brian Redmon, Hunter Reeves, Carson Tucker, Garrett Tucker, and Graham Wilkes.