One of the challenges in putting an all-star team together is getting all of the players on the same page, getting them to play as a cohesive unit.
The challenge isn’t all that great for the Troup American 9-10-year-old all-star team.
Of the 12 players on the team, seven of them are part of the same travel team, and they just got done finishing second in a state tournament last weekend in Stockbridge.
“Three of the boys were on my team. And then seven of the boys play travel ball together,” Troup American coach Terry Booton said. “They’re used to playing together. That helps a lot. We’re hoping to use that to our advantage.”
Troup American is one of five teams participating in the Dixie Youth Baseball 9-10-year-old District 1 tournament that gets under way today in Thomaston.
Troup American received a first-round bye, so it won’t play until Monday at 6 p.m. against the winner of today’s game between Hogansville and Manchester at 10 a.m.
The top two finishers in the double-elimination tournament will advance to the state tournament in July.
“You just take it one game at a time. That’s all you can do,” Booton said.
In preparation for the district tournament, Troup American has played scrimmage games against three of the teams it could play, including the Troup National squad.
Troup American also played Manchester and Thomaston.
“We get to see what the competition’s got, since we’ll be playing them in the tournament,” Wooton said.
The team has also held plenty of practices together to get ready for tournament season.
In addition to the on-field work, Wooton had each of the players participate in another team-building exercise.
On Thursday, after a session in the batting facility at Harris Baseball Complex, Wooton had each of the players fill out a questionnaire.
The players were asked to list the best attributes they could think of about their teammates.
On Sunday, Wooton will go over the results with the players.
“He’ll see it’s what his teammates think of him, and what they expect of him,” Wooton said. “We’re trying to build some confidence, and responsibility. They’ve watched each other play. They know what they’re good at, what they’re not good at.”
Wooton is hopeful that with all of the recreation ball during the spring, and the travel ball, and the practices, the team will be ready to perform at its best at district.
“We’ve been prepping a lot, had a lot of practice,” Wooton said. “They’re ready.”