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All-Stars fired up over World Series trip

The 11 members of the 10U baseball all-star team from the Lamar recreation department are fired up about their trip to Baton Rouge for the United States Select Sports Association (USSSA) World Series and there are a lot of excited parents, grandparents and siblings, too.

The team qualified by going 12-0 in tournament play and winning the state championship.

“Our boys are super excited and have worked hard to get to this point in the season. With the exception of a couple of players, this is the same team that finished second in the state two years ago. We have practiced three days a week since the beginning of May and each player has worked tirelessly in practice,” coach Bubba Samples said of his squad.

World Series events get underway Tuesday, July 9 with a welcome extravaganza that includes an opening ceremony and a pin swap session with all the teams.

Two pool play games follow on Wednesday with one pool play game on the schedule for Thursday followed by a skills competition. Double elimination bracket play begins Friday and runs through Sunday.

The local stars did prep work this week and held a final practice Friday. That was followed by a send-off celebration at the Gordon Road recreation complex.

“We are taking extra time each day to continue to focus on fundamentals while continuing to monitor the workload of our pitchers,” Samples continued.

Thus far the pitching rotation has been solid. Jax Sloan has thrown 208 pitches in the postseason and is 5-0. Kason Samples has thrown 188 pitches and is 3-0. Dailan Evans is 3-0 and has hurled 172 pitches. Blake Matthews has thrown 100 pitches and is 1-0.

The other two hurlers are Colby Guthrie with 54 pitches and Layton Selph with 22 pitches.

“We have two eight-year-olds who are playing up with us who have incredible speed and talent. The rest are a mix of older 10-year-olds who have a little more experience and and some nine-year-olds who are talented and mesh well with the other boys,” coach Samples said.

This team can hit, too, as they boast a .492 team batting average in all-star action.

Sloan is batting .650, Samples is hitting .625 and Nathan Griffis is hitting .615. Cam Stevens and Selph are hitting an even. 500. Colby Guthrie is hitting .478. Cohen Epperson is hitting .450 while Evans and Matthews are at .444. and DJ Harpe is at .400. Trevor Smallwood is hitting .214.

“Each of these boys has improved so much during the season. The parents have been great as well. As coaches, it makes our job so much easier when we have such great support,” coach Samples said.

The other all-star coaches are Jeff Sloan, Josh Griffis and Terrell Selph.

According to recreation director Tiffany Lowe, USSSA operates nationwide.

“We switched to USSSA this year after being in Dixie Youth before which is just in the southeast. We had an all-star team invited to the Dixie Youth World Series a few years ago. As far back as I know, this is our first baseball all-star team to ever win a state title,” Lowe said.

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