July 7, 2010 10:58:00 AM
When it came time to select all-stars, coaches in the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority 11-12-year old baseball league decided to form two teams.
As a result, Columbus will have two teams in the Dizzy Dean 11-12-year old South State Tournament at Winona this weekend.
The Columbus American All-Stars and Columbus National All-Stars will be among 17 teams that will begin play Thursday in the South State Tournament.
"We really wanted to give more kids an opportunity to participate," Columbus Nationals coach Tom Hatcher said. "Having two teams gives more kids an opportunity to play. If it''s really about player development, I think it was really important to do that and have two teams. Now one team may be a little more competitive than the other, but that remains to be seen until this weekend."
The Columbus Nationals are scheduled to play Eupora at 7 p.m., while the Americans play Winona at the same time.
In other opening-round games Thursday, West Point plays Union at 9 a.m., Louisville plays Ackerman and Mathiston plays Grenada Youth at 4:30 p.m., and Macon plays the winner of West Point and Union at 2 p.m.
The Columbus Nationals consist of Chandler Honnoll, Parker Lane and Beau Riley of the Brown Boyd Brown Astros; Cole Griffin and Tyler Lucas of the USA Electrical Indians; Tank Conner and Jamee Welch of the Macon Monarchs; Malik Henry of the Microtek Dodgers; Kendra Conner of the Bancorp South Giants; and Dalton Ford of the Golden Triangle Radiology Reds.
"I think we''ve got a really good team," Hatcher said. "Probably our strength is our glove. We''ve got some goo pitchers.
"We''re strong in all areas, I think. Our hitting we need to improve on. We''ve got two more practices before the tournament so we''re going to be concentrating on our hitting."
The Nationals'' pitchers are Kendra Conner, Tank Conner, Lane, Lucas and Welch.
"I''ve got Kendra Conner, who''s an 11-year old, but he''s about 6-feet tall and I''d say he''s about 170 pounds," Hatcher said. "I''ve got another pitcher, Parker Lane, who has a lot of game experience. He''s got real good control, which is important. He''s got real good form.
"I''ve been working with their mechanics and their form for the last few weeks because they''ve had tendencies to get into bad habits."
Hatcher is excited to have Tank Conner and Welch from Macon on the roster.
"Both of those kidds are champs," Hatcher said. "They''re real good kids. Both of them will pitch for us and both have great gloves. It''s really neat we''re adding these Macon kids. Of courst they''re eligible because they played rec ball for us."
The Columbus Americans are coached by Billy White and the team consists of Deonteau Reives, Laquiston Sharp, Tyran Smith and Bradley Sykes of the Commercial Dispatch White Sox; Emorian Ross and Demarcus White of the Microtek Dodgers; Thomas Cooper and Broderick Wriley of the Golden Triangle Radiology Reds; Shay Boyd of the USA Electrical Indians; Ethan Ashton of the Brown Boyd Brown Astros; and Sean Meadows of the Severstal Angels.