Dixie Youth Baseball team represents Warner Robins at state tournament

July 24, 2013 

Players from the Warner Robins National League ended their season by representing our city at the state tournament.

Players on the all-star team from the Majors Division, sanctioned by Dixie Youth Baseball, were Hunter Price, Camden Wroblewski, Ryan Raffield, Benjamin Johnson, Jonathan Pegues, Tanner Whitford, Chase Douglas, Julian Rodriguez, Tyler Wilson, Eric Bateman, Lamarcus Smith and Joshua Taylor. Shane Whitford was the manager and Randy Rodriguez and Joey Walker were the assistant coaches.

The team won the right to play in the state tournament by winning the District 3 championship June 29. Going into the championship game, the Warner Robins All-Stars had one loss and had to win back-to-back games against West Macon for the championship.

“They were really motivated because of all the rain delays during the tournament,” Whitford said, “and were just really ready to play. Also, we played a lot of interleague games against West Macon, and we have a little rivalry with them so they really wanted to beat that team.”

To help pay its way to the tournament, the team had several fundraisers, including bagging groceries for tips at Piggly Wiggly on North Houston Road and wrapping Father’s Day presents at the Houston County Galleria. They also had a fundraiser at Wal-Mart and Georgia Bob’s.

Opening ceremonies were July 5 for the Dixie Youth State Tournament at historic Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn., where such baseball legends as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Hank Aaron once played.

The team took third place in their bracket and fifth place in the 2013 Dixie Youth State Baseball Tournament. They were knocked out of the tournament by Lee County, who went on to play for the championship.

“It was a big accomplishment for a small park like us to win district, and the boys were very excited to be at state,” Whitford said.

Whiford explained that Lee County and Troup County, who ended up playing for the championship, have 12 teams in the age bracket during regular season, but the Warner Robins park has three.

The experience of winning district and competing at state was special for the boys, many of whom had played together for three years. Several hit home runs during the tournaments in baseball parks much larger than their home field.

“Our coach told us not to give up, to have fun and to do our best,” 13-year-old Camden Wroblewski said. “It was exciting going other places and playing other teams and being the Warner Robins All-Stars.”

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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