Local team makes bid for World Series

Published 9:47 pm Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Southern Pitt All-Stars head to the Cal Ripken League Southeastern Regional Championships next week. Front row: Dakeem Jackson, Clay Summerlin, Daniel Clements, Jaquise Jones, Braxton Manning, Drew Ferguson. Middle row: Cody Morris, Kolton Stotesbury, Carson Asby, Beau Dickerson, Jordan Berry, Jaleel Andrews. Back row: Coach Mike Manning, Manager George Asby, Coach Joseph Brantley. (Contributed photo)

The crack of the bat. Cheers rising through the hot, evening air. For many, those are the sounds of summer and for one eastern North Carolina baseball team, this may be a summer to remember.
The Southern Pitt All-Stars took the state championship in the 12 and under, Major/60 division last week, blasting past New Bern with a six-run fourth inning, winning the game 13–6. Now the team will represent North Carolina in the Cal Ripken League Southeastern Regional Championships, led by coaches Mike Manning and Joseph Brantley, along with manager and Washington native George Asby.
Pam Pack baseball fans may remember Asby chasing fly balls in centerfield in the early ‘90s. Now, the Asby who will play centerfield at next week’s championship is his son, Carson.
Asby has been coaching Cal Ripken League teams for five years — this year taking the Stokes Bluejays to the tournament championship — but this is his first time going to the regional championships. The team of twelve, coaches, parents and some grandparents, will leave Tuesday, driving to Live Oak, Fla., where the double-elimination tournament will be held.
According to Asby, this year’s team plans a repeat of last year’s Southern Pitt All-Stars performance: regional championships followed by an impressive third-place finish in the World Series.
“They are excited. Believe me, they are very confident that they can go down there and actually win,” said Asby. “They have no doubt about their abilities. They know it’s a chance they may never have again.”
To defray the costs of the trip and up to a week-long hotel stay should they make it to the July 23 final, the team is hosting three fundraisers in Greenville this weekend: a spaghetti dinner and bake sale tonight at the Greenville Church of God on Memorial Drive at 5 p.m.  and two simultaneous car washes on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. — one at Dickies BBQ, the other at Tiebreakers.
Asby said the proceeds will go straight to the team and be split equally among the boys’ families.
Coming back victorious from Florida means a trip to Winchester, Mass., to the World Series to pit their skills on the diamond against the best Cal Ripken teams the country has to offer.