Ready for state: Local teams gearing up for tournaments

Published 9:17 pm Friday, June 29, 2018

The Fourth of July holiday is just four days away and baseball and softball take center stage as the state tournaments get ready to begin.

A total of 10 teams will participate in state tournaments, while one team is heading to a district tournament in Dothan.

Oxford and Troy will take center stage for the majority of the state tournaments this week. In Troy, the Belles, Darlings and Sweetees will see their first action of the summer beginning on Friday evening.

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Opening ceremonies begin at 4 p.m. and games begin at 6 p.m.

Four different baseball teams will travel to Oxford for the state tournament. The 8U Coach Pitch Rookies, AAA Rookie Americans and Nationals, and the Ozone Rookies will all vie for a spot in the World Series.

“We have been practicing as much as we can handle,” said AAA Rookie Nationals coach Rick Cochran. “We got back out there after the tournament on Monday.”

The Ozone Rookies will open up with Gordo at 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. Wally Lowery’s team is coming off a second-place finish in last week’s district tournament in Troy.

“We have been having long practices in the heat,” Lowery said. “We have a game at 2:00 and we are trying to get them adjusted to the heat. It’s going good.”

The 8U Coach Pitch Rookies had no problem in their district tournament in Troy. They finished the tournament undefeated and took home a championship. They celebrated last weekend with a trip to the Montgomery Biscuits game.

Despite the undefeated finish in Troy, head coach Troy Jinright is looking to clean up the mistakes both on the bases and in the batting cages.

“We have been working on some base running,” Jinright said. “We made a lot of base running mistakes in district. Trying to stay hot. I think we hit really well so if we can keep the bats hot we should be fine.”

On July 5, Troy’s first softball team will play in a state tournament when the Ponytails get set to head to Eufaula. They finished up play on Tuesday and will have a quick turnaround at state.

“The quick turnaround is good,” said head coach Jonathan Earls. “It’s still fresh in their minds.”

The Dixie Boys 14U team has had to wait longer than most to get their season underway. They will begin their run at a district championship today in Dothan. Troy drew a first round bye and will play the winner of Ozark and Dothan.

The next wave of games will begin on July 13 with the AAA American’s traveling to Eufaula for the state tournament. The Dixie Boys 13’s will play in Enterprise on July 14 and the Dixie Boy’s 14 will be in Dothan on June 29.