For the third straight year, a team of Albany youngsters are state baseball champions. Now they're ready to compete at the World Series.
The Albany Dizzy Dean 8U All-Stars have actually won three straight state championships, but this will be their first World Series. They plan to make it a good one.
The team will make their way to Southaven, Mississippi in July for the Dizzy Dean World Series.
Despite qualifying for the Series the last two summers, the team's coaches decided to hold them back because of finances.
"It wasn't that we felt they weren't ready in previous years," says head coach Stephen Sceals. "It was, as parents, difficult to get younger kids to travel two states over and spend a week away from home. We feel like they're older, more mature, and have a chance to be really competitive.
There is no holding them back this July though, as the team of young guns will square off with the country's best.
The players know it won't be easy, but the coaches know just how talented they are.
"It's going to be hard and hard to do and we're going to play a lot of good teams," says pitcher Boyd Pollock.
"We have great infielders. We have outfielders who just have a knack for catching fly balls and running them down. The kids hustle, they listen," says Sceals. "For an eight year old team coached by volunteer coaches, they're pretty strong and they take coaching very well. Athletically for the most part, I haven't seen many teams have better athletes than we have."
The team is raising money to help offset some of the travel costs. That includes holding a 50/50 raffle at Locos the night of the MLB Home Run Derby on June 11. He hopes the community will support the team.
"They're class kids, they're respectful kids. I know that they will represent Albany well. So I know when we travel to Mississippi people will be proud to have supported them and the kids will do well for them," explained Head Coach Stephen Sceals.
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