Second county team heads to World Series
The 9-10 Year Old Selmer All-stars gather in front of the scoreboard that reads 6-7 after winning the State Championship. Front row, left to right: Peyton Kiddy, Braden Rickman, Hunter McCullar, Hunter Jernigan, Justin Smith, and Lucas Hively. Back Row: Will Deaton, Tucker Gray, Preston Steward, Austin Whiting, JT Cranford, and Hunter Justice. Coaches: David McCullar, Josh Gray, and Dale Justice.
July and August have been hot, but Dixie Youth and Dixie Boys baseball teams from McNairy County have been even hotter as a multitude of teams have represented the county in their respective state tournaments.
Most recently the Selmer 9-10 Year Old All Stars move on to the Dixie Youth AAA World Series in Carthage, N.C. after winning the 2011 Tennessee AAA State Championship.
Director of District 7, Paul Plunk confirmed shortly after the victory, “Yes, of this age group, Selmer is the first to win state in McNairy County.”
The double elimination tournament began on July 29 in Mount Pleasant, Tenn. with Selmer losing to Lookout Mountain 10-7 sending Selmer directly to the loser’s bracket.
“I felt going in, we were the best team there,” said Coach Josh Gray. “We lost the first round, but made a comeback and beat the best teams there.”
Selmer shutout Lexington 10-0 on Saturday with a homerun by Will Deaton. Then Selmer played a double header on Sunday winning 6-5 over Madison Central and 2-1 against Bolivar.
“We got short on pitching,” said Gray, “and had to use a pitcher that had never pitched in a tournament before, but we played hard and never gave up.”
On Aug. 1 Selmer pushed to a 14-7 win against Dickson County and an 11-1 victory on Lebanon Tuesday.
On the final day Selmer met their tournament nemesis from their first game, Lookout Mountain, whom they squeked by 9-7.
As the final game approached, the heat was literally on. Summertown who had also beaten Lookout Moutian took the field and due to some bracket magic, had also and advanced to the final game from the loser bracket.
With one out and a score of 7-6, Selmer made a double play that gave them the championship.
“They have worked their tails off for this game,” said Coach Dale Justice after the game. “They are devoted and have put in the time.”
These players have made a tremendous battle and not only in this season.
Peyton Kiddy, Justin Smith, Hunter Justice, and Tucker Gray have been playing baseball together since they were four and have went to the state tournament a total of five times.
“None of them have had a vacation or went fishing this summer,” said Justice. “Most of the time was spent on the field.”
In attempt to raise money for the trip, these young men, parents, and coaches have put in a weekend of hard work as well. The Independent Appeal wishes them the best of luck as they step into new territory and set new records for Selmer.
Team Tennessee will be excused from school with advancement in the World Series, which is set to begin Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against Alabama.
Last Monday, the team was recognized by the McNairy County Commission for their achivements. County Mayor Wilburn Gene Ashe read a proclamation from the commission congratulating the team followed by the reading of a letter from Gov. Bill Haslam in which the governor wished the 9-10-year-olds good luck at the World Series and declared Aug. 3 an official state-wide day of recognition for the local team.
(Andrew Alexander and Christen Coulon also contributed to this story.)