WARNER ROBINS -- The Warner Robins American Little League All-Stars teams are again looking for a run at a Little League World Series championship.
After the June 15 announcement of who was selected for the 11- and 12-year-old teams, the baseball and softball teams started practicing.
The softball team doesnt have the home-field advantage this year and play at Western Little League in Macon for the District 5 title, which sends a team to the state tournament held at Rabun County Little League.
The winner of the boys District 5 championship will head to the home of Murphey Candler Little League in Dunwoody for the state tournament.
Manager Chuck Dagley of the 11- and 12-year-old softball All Stars isnt looking past the first game.
Im trying to take it one tournament at a time, he said.
The softball team has five returning players from last year to help lead the team. Those players are Presley Dagley, Lindsey Cauley, Courtney Walker, Madison Slappey and Cassidy Ruffin. Players Megan Whitaker, Taylor Peebles and Carly Ingle were on the 10- and 11-year-old All-Star team last year.
They are really gelling together, said Dagley, who is pleased with the progress his team has made in practice so far. I have a lot of confidence in these girls.
The first district game is against Western Little League at 6 p.m. Friday.
On the baseball side, the boys are again split into two divisions, the East and West.
East Manager Jason Ring thinks the team would be a powerhouse were it only one division, but heknows with what they have now, a trip to the World Series in Pennsylvania is possible.
They showed it last year that they could do it, he said.
Two of his players return from last years Little League Southeastern Region championship team. Both Dillon Toms and Logan Morris are back again, and both of their fathers are coaching with Ring.
East Coach Matt Morriss voice could be heard way in the outfield as he hit grounders and pop-ups during fielding practice June 20.
Morris rounded his players up and told them to take chances.
Baseball is a game of failures, he told his players during the break.
Ring said he has a lot of parental support, and some dads were out on the hot, dry softball field hitting balls to players as well.
We dont have any superstars, Ring said. There will be a different hero each game.
The same could be said of the West All Stars.
West Manager Martin Pinckney said there were many players who could possibly step-up to fulfill the leadership role.
The big picture is that were really deep, he said of his pitching and hitting.
During morning practice Friday, coach Buddy Deal thought the 13 boys looked sluggish and made many mental mistakes.
Many of the fathers blamed it on the NBA finals game, which ended just before midnight the night before.
This game is 90 percent mental, said pitching coach Tommy Morris. Turn your minds on.
Pinckney left most of the yelling to coach Randy Dempsey, who managed the East All-Star team last year, and Deal, who coached the Southeastern Region champions.
Everywhere you go everyone will play their World Series game against you because you have that WR on your hat, Deal told the players during a break.
Pinckney and all coaches tried to push their players to be motivated and sharp. Deal told the boys their curfew was 10 p.m., and there was no more spending the night at each others houses. The West needs a lot of work, said Deal.
The West will play its first district game at 7:30 p.m. July 7 against Macons Western Little League. The East will play at noon July 7 against Macons Vine Ingle Little League.