District bound: Troy Ozone Rookie Team hopes to make a deep run in Enterprise
Published 3:25 am Thursday, June 16, 2016
Led by head coach Chris Huner, the Ozone Rookie team is looking for revenge during the Enterprise District Tournament.
“We are all very excited,” Huner said. “We coaches have butterflies, but they are the good kind of butterflies.”
Last year the Rookies tournament run came to an end against Enterprise and the two are set up for a rematch this evening.
“You always have to go through Enterprise,” Huner said. “They are kind of like our team they have about half of their players returning and half moving on to the next league. We are in their back yard and we know they are going to be competitive.”
Like the other all-star teams in Troy, the Ozone Rookies will have to adjust from playing regular season baseball to playing in a tournament style game starting on Thursday.
“We are not trying to reinvent the wheel, but we want them to try and mesh as a unit,” Huner said. “We want to find out what the best positions are. Not every one can be a pitcher. Luckily we have had about two weeks to try and figure out what are best lineup is.”
When it comes to hitting, the Ozone Rookies are set up to be an offensive force.
“It’s good kind of difficulty when you have so many good hitters that you don’t know who to put at the top or middle of your lineup,” Huner said.
This is the second year that coach Huner has coached the Ozone Rookies. This year’s team returns five players from last year’s team. The hope is that the Rookies will be able to feed off experience and make a deeper run towards a state title.
“I think I have coached all but one of these guys on a tournament team,” Huner said. “I think the experience is going to pay off. They have played in tournaments before where you have to play all day in double-elimination tournaments. It’s going to help out a lot.”
The players have been spending the last couple of months practicing once a week and playing two games to practicing every day and they play a tournament.
“That experience is going to pay off,” Huner said. “There is a learning curve and you have to get adjusted.”
The Rookies will be part of a three-team district that features both Enterprise and Eufaula. The three teams will all play each other in a round robin, double-elimination style tournament.
Eufaula will enter the tournament with a new team. They did not field a team a season ago.
The Ozone Rookies will head to Enterprise with a roster that includes: Brady Barron, Bryce Betts, K.C. Bradford, Kase Chirico, Mario Davenport, Brady Huner, Payne Jefcoat, Cade Renfroe, Colton Taylor, Connor Thrash, Jeffrey Warrick and J.D. Wilson.
The Ozone Rookies will head take on the host team Enterprise at 6 p.m.