Baseball All-Stars prepare for state tourney

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2013

After a strong showing in the Little Tar Heel League District 7 tournament the Washington 8U and 10U All-Stars’ postseason run will continue on Thursday at the Little Tar Heel League state tournament in Williamston.
The 8Us scrappy effort at the district tourney allowed them to place second and earn an invite into this week’s state competition, while the 10Us punched their ticket by winning the district crown.
Coached by Michael Craig, the 10U All-Stars sustained a loss midway through their district run but where able to avoid a fatal second one thanks to some hot hitting and timely pitching.
Washington Cal Ripken League/Little Tar Heel League president Chip Edwards said the loss helped served as a wake up call for the All-Stars.
“They are as confident as they can be right now,” Edwards said. “You never really consider a loss a good thing but …. I think it taught them that they weren’t invincible and that they could lose if they could not produce exactly what they needed on the base paths or in the infield or by giving up too many walks.”
The 10Us were able to capture the district title thanks to their explosive offense but Edwards said the key for them lies in their ability to keep teams from scoring.
“This team is going to put runs on the board, that’s how they’re built. They can hit from top to bottom,” Edwards said. “What they need to do is limit teams on getting runs. Often times in this age group it’s a couple of errors here and there and a couple of extra walks that makes the difference in two to three to four runs. You can go from having a 9-5 game to being 9-9.”
In the 8U division, Washington has the defensive ability to stay in any ball game but will need its offense to be more consistent if the All-Stars want to make an extended run at the state tourney.
“The key is for us to get five runs or more. That’s the key to this team,” said Edwards, who coaches the 8U All-Stars. “We have done very well defensively. Against the teams we have played and won we were able to hold them down on runs or score right with them.
“It’s important if we can put runs on the board early in the game and take a lead or hang right with those really good teams. The kids are used to the grind of a low-scoring game so if we can put some runs on the board it will make them that much more comfortable.”
The double-elimination state tournament will begin on Thursday in Williamston as the 8U All-Stars will open up against Pine Level and the 10Us will face off against West Chatham.