NC team has its chance to shine

The Covington News - - Sports - Josh Briggs jbriggs@cov­news.com

It’s been 13 years since the last time a team from New­ton County has been able to call it­self the best of the best, but that’s ex­actly what this year’s lo­cal 13-un­der Ju­nior Dixie Boys team has a chance to do. The New­ton County 13-un­der All-Star team cap­tured the Ge­or­gia ti­tle Tues­day and will try to be­come the first team to bring a Dixie Boys World Se­ries ti­tle back to Cov­ing­ton since the 1998 Dixie Boys Mi­nor team won it all. The NC All-Stars travel to Seneca, S.C., July 30 to open tour­na­ment play against Vir­ginia.

Many of you may re­mem­ber how crit­i­cal I have been of the lo­cal re­cre­ation all-star teams in the re­cent past. If you can’t, I have ba­si­cally said in so many words that by hav­ing so many all-star teams, we di­lute the tal­ent pool and don’t put the best 12-15 play­ers on one team. The county has had as many as three teams play­ing in the same tour­na­ment. Sure, three teams seems to give the county three op­por­tu­ni­ties to win. But I said then that was too many and we should have in­stead put to­gether one great team.

Now the county has a chance to prove me wrong. With this year’s 13-un­der team hav­ing won the state tour­na­ment, it is in prime po­si­tion to cap­ture the na­tional ti­tle. Iron­i­cally, these are some of the same play­ers who played on those teams I was crit­i­cal of that also fin­ished run­ner up in the state tour­na­ment to Troup County. Also iron­i­cally, New­ton County had only one team in this tour­na­ment. Maybe I was right af­ter all, and the coaches did con­sol­i­date the best play­ers on one team. Con­sider this, too, none of the three coaches have sons who play on the team.

Re­gard­less of what has tran­spired since last year’s state tour­na­ment at City Pond Park, I am glad we have a team poised to make a run at a na­tional ti­tle. Win­ning a Dixie Boys World Se­ries is the pin­na­cle of re­cre­ation base­ball in our com­mu­nity. It would mean a lot to the city and to the New­ton County Re­cre­ation Com-

mis­sion. I know NCRC di­rec­tor Tommy Hai­ley is im­mensely proud of the team and ev­ery­one over at Turner Lake is ex­cited for this team. There’s no ques­tion New­ton County has its share of tal­ented base­ball play­ers. Just look at how suc­cess­ful Al­covy and East­side high schools have been over the past few years and last year’s Cony­ers Post 77 Amer­i­can Le­gion, stocked with sev­eral lo­cal play­ers, won the state tour­na­ment and had a sim­i­lar op­por­tu­nity to win na­tion­ally. New­ton County is cer­tainly a hot­bed for base­ball tal­ent.

The 13-un­der team has al­ready left its mark as state cham­pi­ons. Twenty years from now, that won’t change. Now let’s see if the team can bring home the ultimate prize. Win or lose, we here at The News are proud of the team's ac­com­plish­ments this year. Now go up there and see if you can bring us back the big prize. Good luck in Seneca.

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