Dixie Boys patiently preparing for tournament

Published 3:00 am Friday, July 3, 2015

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After being named the Alabama State Games Champions, the Troy Dixie Boys have had to do their fair share of waiting and the end is still some weeks off.

Troy head coach Steve Barron and the Dixie Boys are eager to face new opponents in the upcoming State Tournament, which will begin July 17.

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The team is busily preparing for their state tournament showing, honing their skills at practices, but Barron said he was afraid his team might become rusty since the start of the State Tournament will make it a month since the Dixie Boys have faced any real competition.

“We are sort of limbo right now,” Barron said. “We have been practicing really hard. We have played in a few practice games, and we have done pretty well in both of those. We are just practicing right now. That is pretty much all we can do.”

Having benefited from playing in some of the practice games, Barron said the team is looking to schedule a few more before heading into State play. Barron said the team had even considered hosting joint practices with other teams to get the experience needed heading to state.

But, since most of the teams in the area have been playing for the last month, Barron said most local teams were using the time to rest making it a bit difficult for him to schedule opponents. However, Barron said, the team had been able to schedule a practice game with the Dixie Junior Boys Wednesday.

“We played the 13-year olds just so we could do something different,” Barron said. “It gave them a good opportunity to see someone different. We both worked on a lot of stuff. It was a very controlled scrimmage. We are hoping to get a few more games in next week and get ready for the final stretch before the tournament.”

With two weeks left to prepare for state competition, the Dixie Boys have been able to better define their strengths and weakness as a ball team. Barron said the team’s ability to hit, and hit well, was something that the team had focused on during the last few weeks of practice.

“We have worked a lot on hitting,” Barron said. “One of the reasons we made it to the next level at the Alabama State Games was because we scored so many runs. This team is really strong at hitting the baseball, top to bottom.”

The team’s ability to gel and play as one was something else Barron said he had noticed over the past month.

In any sport defense wins championships, and Barron said the Dixie Boys have been working on controlling their pitches and having a strong defense before heading to state.

“Our pitching should be really strong,” Barron said. “I have 12 kids, and I have 12 kids that can pitch. I have several that I feel comfortable about getting four to five innings out of and a few I could get a couple innings out of.”

With the State Tournament being held here in Troy, Barron said he hoped the Dixie Boys would be able to take advantage of the home field advantage.