The 8U North Macon All-Stars youth baseball team is going for it all. The team will represent Georgia later this month in the Dixie Youth AA Coach Pitch World Series Championship.
The boys won the Georgia Dixie Youth Baseball state tournament and are now headed to the big series in Ruston, Louisiana, on July 27-30.
David Newberry, team manager, said the all-stars went undefeated and outscored opponents 101-25.
“We’ve got a good team,” he said, “We’ve got a lot of offensive power and our defense is strong, as well.”
North Macon-area teams have played in other championship games before. In 2016, one team played for the area United States Specialty Sports Association championship.
Newberry and others coaching the kids this year have worked to focus on building qualities that also will help the players off the field. The team’s motto this season, as established by Newberry, has been “I Can Do This!”
Newberry said he has encouraged a positive mindset in the clubhouse.
“They gotta believe. They gotta have confidence in themselves, not just in game situations, but in life in general,” he said.
That doesn’t mean the team isn’t excited about playing, winning and all of what it means to be in the world series.
Kaiden Harvey, a shortstop on the All-Stars team, said, “I love playing with my team.”
Stephen Grogan, team catcher, hopes to bring home a championship memento.
“I want to win, so we can get rings,” Grogan said.
The North Macon All-Stars placed in Division I and will be one of 12 teams playing, according to Wes Skelton, Dixie Youth Baseball commissioner.
Skelton said this is the first year the tournament will be played on turf fields at the Ruston Sports Complex.
“The fields are beautiful. They spent about $30 million on them so they’re beautiful fields,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Macon team is practicing four to five times a week leading up to the tournament. Newberry said the extra practice will strengthen the team and make them ready to represent Georgia.
“These boys want it,” Newberry said of the players’ work ethic, “We are playing and practicing as much as we can right now.”
Team boosters are also staying busy. The team has to cover the costs of participating in the tournament so they are raising money, looking for sponsors and holding raffles to pay for lodging, meals and uniforms.