TITLE RUN: 8U Rookie team swinging for championship

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Troy 8U coach-pitch Rookie team is gearing up for a run at a state championship this Thursday when they head to Ozark to begin play in the state tournament.

Troy wrapped up a first-place finish in the district tournament in Troy on June 19 and have been working on fine-tuning their game ever since.

“We have been trying to clean some things up on defense and making the routine plays,” said head coach Troy Jinright. “Those are critical in advancing.”

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Jinright has preached to his kids that the further you go in the tournament, the harder the games are going to get. For that reason, Jinright has worked hard on cleaning up the mistakes.

“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.”

There will be a little more than two weeks in between district and the start of the tournament. In order to try and stay hot, Troy played in a warmup tournament in Ozark this weekend.

“We do a lot of hitting in the cages,” Jinright said. “We are trying to stay game-ready.”

The state tournament will obviously bring new challenges different than the ones Troy faced at district. They will be on the road and they will be facing tougher competition.

“We have been playing at home a lot,” Jinright said. “It’s different when you’re out on the road. You don’t have as big of a crowd. It will be different, but I think the boys will be fine. They have played in a lot of practice games, we have traveled and played in different travel ball tournaments. I tell the guys we play for the name on the front and not on the back. If we play Troy baseball, we will be fine.”

The temperatures have been hot in the Troy area over the last couple of weeks and Jinright has had to make an effort to keep his players fresh and not fatigued.

“This week has really been hot,” Jinright said. “We have been trying to have some later practices to try and get out of the heat. In district, we knew our games were going to be at night so we tried to practice at the same time. It’s going to be a little different at state. You’re probably going to have a morning game and an afternoon game. It’s good getting these practices in – hopefully they will be ready for it.”

Along with Jinright, Troy is coached by Will Sanders, Chris Campbell and Aaron Taylor. Players include Colt Archie, Wyatt Austin, Jamareon Burney, Colten Campbell, Ethan Gardiner, Mark Griffin, Dru Jinright, David Riley Sanders, Connor Sanders, Ty’Rin Toney, Carlos Valencia and Dreyton Wingard.