WORLDS BOUND:Troy O-Zone team prepares for World Series appearance

Published 3:00 am Thursday, August 6, 2015

Two days before the Troy O-Zone team opens play at the 2015 World Series title in Lexington, S.C., the team busily prepared during one final practice on Wednesday evening.

And even though a lot of these players have known each other growing up and playing baseball together in Troy, the opportunity to travel with one another is a special experience.

“It’s been a lot of fun. I think this has been my favorite year so far playing baseball,” said first basemen Avery Ernsberger. “I have never been to a World Series before and I have never won state, so this has been an all-around fun year.”

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Levi Sikes has been to a World Series before and looks forward to getting to know his teammates while on the road trying to win a championship.

“I have been to a World Series with a travel team,” Sikes said. “I like staying hotels while I’m there, and I love playing baseball. It’s a lot of fun.”

It has been a whirlwind of emotions for the O-Zone baseball team this summer. From winning the District Tournament to coming within one loss of elimination in the State Tournament, the coaches, parents and the community have come out to support the O-Zone team in a big way.

“It’s been a great feeling. Our coaches don’t get paid for this, and they want to be out here just as bad as we do,” Ernsberger said. “We wouldn’t be out here right now if it wasn’t for our parents. They have raised a lot of money and they have been there to cheer us on. We are really blessed to have them with us.”

Sikes agreed.

“They have all been out here to help and support us, and we get to go to South Carolina for the World Series,” Sikes said. “I am hopeful they can all come with us. It’s a long drive but if they are willing to support us we will play for them.”

Even with the rain and their head coach in Myrtle Beach, watching his son and the Troy Machine Pitch team in the Dixie Youth Boys AA World Series, the O-Zone team knew the importance of their final practice on Wednesday night.

Head coach David Nelson and the coaching staff have been preaching the importance of a good strong defense.

“If we don’t score but we can hold the other team from scoring then we are at a stalemate,” Sikes said. “We are not getting hurt and we aren’t affected by it

The team’s effort and hustle through out every game and practice is one of the many reasons Ernsberger believes this has already been a successful summer.

“We hustle at everything we do. We hit the ball really good and we field the ball really good,” Ernsberger said. “Defense is really the number one thing that we do. If we ever have a bad-hitting day we can always rely on our pitching and defense. We have been working on hitting and defense every day because if our defense isn’t perfect we want our hitting to be. And if our hitting isn’t perfect we want our defense to be.”

Many of the players on the team like their chances heading into the World Series.

“As long as we keep our head up and keep having fun we should have a chance,” Scott Taylor Renfroe said. “We need to stay focused under pressure. When we get under pressure we try and do everything fast and messes us up.”

The O-Zone team’s first round match up will be against Virginia on Aug. 8 at 3:30 p.m.