July 19, 2012 10:33:31 PM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Perfection is an elusive accomplishment in any sport.
In baseball, a player usually can keep the magic going for so long before a blooper ends a pitcher's no-hitter or a fielder makes a diving play to rob an opponent of a hit.
For teams, winning streaks typically don't attract a lot of attention until they get to double digits, but that is a rare feat because so many things have to go right for a squad to keep the momentum going.
It's safe to say then that Sean Glasgow and the Tri-County Sting 14-year-old travel baseball team is on a roll that is tough to match.
The Mississippi state champion Sting defeated the STX Hitmen from Hidalgo, Texas, 16 -1 in five innings Sunday to win the USSSA World Series in Baton Rouge, La. The victory extended the Sting's record this season to 28-0.
"Those guys really played super. I was really proud of them," said Glasgow, whose team features players from Caledonia, Hamilton, Sulligent, Ala., Amory, Smithville, and Houlka. The World Series title comes on the heels of a 24-game winning streak last season. This season, the Sting beat the AAA state champion Tupelo Rangers to win the 82 Challenge Tournament Championship. In all, Glasgow said the team won eight tournaments.
Despite having a solid core of returning players, Glasgow wasn't sure how this team was going fare. He knew some of the players who joined the Sting, but he had no idea things would come together -- and stay together -- like they did this season.
"I felt with the core we had coming back we would be competitive, but I don't think anyone expects to go undefeated in a baseball season because there are just too many variables in baseball," Glasgow said. "That's what I think is so special about this year. We lost about four kids who really helped out in the past several years. Any time you get somebody new at this age I won't say it is tough, but you want to make them feel comfortable and get them into positions they are used to playing."
Glasgow said it took until the team's second tournament to see signs of chemistry with the players. That's when he said things "clicked" and the players started to feed off each other.
That momentum carried over to the state tournament in New Albany. Victories there gave the team confidence it could play with any team. The Sting needed that belief at the World Series because it twice rallied from 4-0 deficits to keep its undefeated streak alive.
"The boys just played out of this world," Glasgow said. "This bunch just didn't have any quit. Our pitching was excellent, and we hit the ball pretty good."
The Sting also racked up their share of awards. The team won the best time around the horn (Catcher -- Caleb Bates, Third Base -- Micah McCain, Shortstop -- Austin Grubbs, Second Base -- Hayden Evans, and First Base -- Jantsen Glasgow), was second in the home run derby (Chase Farrish), won the accuracy throw from the outfield (Farrish and Austin Taylor), and was second in the speed competition (Grubbs).
Caledonia's Jantsen Glasgow won the World Series overall MVP Award, while Nettleton's Caleb Bates won the World Series Defensive MVP Award.
Coach Glasgow, who also coaches a 9-and-under USSSA girls softball and a 9-and-under USSSA baseball team, said infield always has been a team strength. He has coached some of the players on the Sting since they were 6 years old, and others since they were 9. He said all of the players kept improving and kept working hard to keep their perfect season alive.
"I love working with them," Glasgow said of the 14-year-old USSSA team. "We picked up a couple of guys and they fell in and really meshed. They were a perfect fit, and it was a perfect finish to a perfect season."
Glasgow said a few of the team members might play in an All-State tournament in Oxford in two weeks. After that, the team will have to wait until the fall and then the winter before it comes back together. Glasgow hopes all of the players from the 2012 Sting will return to be a part of the 2013 version.
Team members are: Caleb Tate, coach Reg Gordon, Caleb Bates, Ty Reed, Chase Farrish, JD Hester, coach Sean Glasgow, Jantsen Glasgow, coach Ronnie "Woody" McCain, Ross Ingram, Austin Grubbs, Hayden Evans, Hayden Palmer, Devin Riggs, Micah McCain, Jerrin Hester, McKellar Conwill, and Austin Taylor.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.