Troy Dixie Boys 14U team ready for district
Published 8:46 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2018
The Troy Dixie Boys 14U baseball team advanced all the way to the World Series in 2017. After an abrupt exit, Troy has their sites on making a return trip to the World Series in Louisiana.
The 14U Dixie Boys got a later start to their summer this year. With most teams prepping for their run in the state tournament, head coach Chris Huner and Troy will head to Dothan this Friday night for the district tournament.
“It gave us more time to get ready,” Huner said. “Then again, the boys are getting anxious. You want to play some games.”
To get some game-type experience, Troy has played in four exhibition games to fill in the gaps that aren’t filled during practice.
The Dixie Boys took on the 13U team before taking part in a tournament sponsored by the Wiregrass Cardinals in Dothan last weekend. In the three tournament games, Troy accumulated a 1-3 record.
“We played some good competition,” Huner said. “The boys saw live pitching and situations that you can’t duplicate in practice. It was a good weekend for us even though we won one and lost two. The bottom line is we got to play some practice games and it has helped us scratch that itch of being on the field. As a coach, it was good to see the boys perform.”
Troy will play in a five-team bracket that also includes Ozark, Dothan, Wicksburg and Headland. Troy drew a bye and won’t play until Saturday morning. They will play the winner of the Dothan – Ozark game.
Nine players return off last year’s state championship team.
“I am very familiar with these guys,” Huner said. “Several of them, I coached during the regular season.”
Troy will bring back many of their pitchers from last year’s squad including lefty Darryl Lee, Skylarr Kidd, Jayden Jordan, Adrian Cardwell.
“I think I have more pitching as a team than I did last year,” Huner said. “You can never have too much pitching. Darryl Lee is my only left-handed pitcher and he will be one of my top pitchers. Our big guy, Adrian Cardwell, is the biggest kid on the team, so he is kind of an intimidating figure.”
JD Wilson, Nate Braisted, Brady Barron and Noah Prestwood will also get time on the mound.
Troy features a lineup at the plate that includes both power and speed. Troy was able to mix up their lineup last year in order to get runs. Huner believes he will have that same luxury this year.
“We still have a good mixture,” Huner said. “Our overall team speed is better than last year. I would expect a lot more extra base hits. We did that this last weekend in Dothan. The guys like to run.”
Troy played in a league during the regular season that featured 13, 14 and 15-year olds playing in the same league. Because of that, the players on Troy’s 13U team had to pitch on a mound further away and also run on longer base paths. The base paths will shrink from 90 feet down to 80 feet.
“Now that we are in tournament ball, we go back to strictly 14-year-old Dixie Boys rules,” Huner said. “I think we will be able to steal a lot of bases. They are used to playing at 90 feet and now we are 10 feet closer.”
This year’s World Series will be hosted by the same Louisiana team that knocked Troy out a season ago. The Troy players are using that as motivation.
“You can’t look ahead, but you have to make plans,” Huner said. “We played a really good team from Louisiana that wound up winning the World Series. I heard the guys talking and it’s kind of motivation to get back and beat the same team that eliminated us.”
In order to make it back to the World Series, Troy will have to finish in the top two in Dothan and win the state tournament in Enterprise.
Players on Troy’s roster includes Brady Barron, Nate Braisted, Adrian Cardwell, Case Chirico, Brady Huner, Jayden Jordan, Skylar Kidd, Darryl Lee, Noah Prestwood, Ben Reeves, Jeffrey Warrick and JD Wilson.