All-star champs

New­ton County All-Stars bring home World se­ries tro­phy.

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - MARIYA LEWTER mlewter@covnews.com

Cov­ing­ton can now call it­self home to a World Se­ries cham­pion.

The New­ton County All-Stars Royal 10-and-un­der team took home the tro­phy at the USSSA Base­ball World Se­ries in Gulf­port, Mis­sis­sippi fol­low­ing week-long com­pe­ti­tion from June 28 to July 3.

With the chance to play on such a big stage, first-game jit­ters kicked in for the al­ls­tars, caus­ing them to drop their first game to the Mon­ti­cello All-Stars from Ari­zona.

“We just weren’t our­selves the first game,” said head coach Arse­nio Nol­ley. “I ac­tu­ally think we had to lose one game be­fore we locked in. Af­ter we got that first game and got all our swim­ming and play­ing around out of the way, then we re­ally got fo­cused on base­ball.”

The all-stars bounced back, win­ning their next two games against the Tar­pons and the LPR Xtreme from Louisiana.

Then it was time for face Mon­ti­cello again, and this time New­tonCounty was ready.

“They were by far our clos­est com­pe­ti­tion,” Nol­ley said of Mon­ti­cello. “We played them three times, and they were all close games.”

The Royal all-stars de­feated Mon­ti­cello back to back, in­clud­ing a 11-7 win in the cham­pi­onship game. Fol­low­ing the win, the all-stars ended the week ranked No. 1 in USSSA points and the 10-and-un­der power rank­ings.

Two play­ers also came away with in­di­vid­ual hon­ors. Kyle John­son won the home­run derby, while Lorenzo Palmer won the award for be­ing the fastest kid around the bases. The team will also be hon­ored at the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion (BOC) meet­ing on July 19.

While play­ing for the ti­tle, the kids also got a chance to play and en­joy each other’s com­pany with nightly team din­ners and fre­quent trips to the pool.

“We stayed in the pool more than we played base­ball,” Nol­ley said jok­ingly. “We had great time, and that was the best thing for us. When we were play­ing base­ball and when we weren’t.”

The all-stars are also coached by Dave White, Gino Brown and Richard Hud­son. Nol­ley thanked them, their spon­sors, and the New­ton County Recre­ation Com­mis­sion for their sup­port and help in get­ting the team to Mis­sis­sippi.

“They sup­ported us and helped cut our ex­penses in half,” Nol­ley said. “It def­i­nitely took a com­mu­nity to get us to Mis­sis­sippi and back. It took a lot of time and money, and there were a lot of peo­ple that helped us out.”

With this vic­tory un­der his belt, Nol­ley hopes this will en­cour­age more kids to get in­volved with recre­ation base­ball.

“It kind of puts us on the map a lit­tle bit and lets kids know that there is a chance that you can have the op­por­tu­nity to play in a world se­ries and be a part of some­thing spe­cial,” Nol­ley said. “It’s some­thing that they’ll never for­get about. It was like one of the best weeks of my life and I’m an adult, so I can imag­ine what that feel­ing is for a kid.”

Also in the World Se­ries in Gulf­port was the New­ton County Green All-Star 8 and un­der team. Coached by David York and Tins­ley Bai­ley, along with Shawn Free­man and Billy Conn, the Green all-stars fin­ished the week a 3-4 record and a No. 5 rank­ing.

Sub­mit­ted photos | The Cov­ing­ton News

TOP: Team mem­bers show off their cham­pi­onship rings. ABOVE: The New­ton County All-Stars Royal 10-and-un­der team took home the USSSA World Se­ries ti­tle in Gulf­port, Mis­sis­sippi.

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