Franklin County’s All Star ballclub of 7 and 8 year olds, representing the state of Florida last weekend at the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Ruston, Louisiana, learned a powerful lesson.
Sometimes the work of a day goes long into the night, and still you have to rise and shine the next morning and go right back at it.
In their second day of play on Sunday afternoon, the boys eked out an extra inning nailbiter 9-8 against Georgia.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, pitcher Jasiah Fleming got the final hit to send right fielder Weston Hollenbeck home from third, and a walk-off victory in the two-and-one-half hour game.
“It was a well-played game, a very hard-fought game,” said coach Ronnie Joseph. “The boys never gave up when they was facing adversity. They fought back to tie it up.”
Now practically dinnertime, the boys got a brief moment of rest before taking the field again at past 11 p.m. Eastern time, and taking on Alabama.
The boys played tough, and fell 11-7 to a team that would end up in Tuesday’s championship.
“They was worn out, it was a very long day for the guys. They was just worn out, there was really nothing we could do about it,” said Joseph.
If that wasn’t all, the boys got back to their rooms and in bed at the Holiday Inn Express in West Monroe well past 2 a.m., and then had to be up and at ‘em for an 8:30 a.m. start. Their uniforms had been washed, so they had to get suited up after the 30-minute drive to the ball park.
On Monday morning, the boys lost 10-2 to South Carolina, finishing a respectable 2-3 for the tourney.
“We should have beat them if the kids had a good night’s rest. I felt we should have beat them,” said Joseph. “With a good night’s rest I feel we should have pulled that game out.”
The boys, together with Coach Joseph and assistants Tyler Poloronis, Lee Shiver and Jonathan Brown, and about 16 parents, got to Ruston July 25, and then took part in the opening ceremony Friday, July 26 at Louisiana Tech University.
On Saturday morning, they got the ball rolling with a 9-5 win over Mississippi in the normal six innings. “They all played a great game, it was a team effort for that game,” said Joseph.
Later they played Texas, who would also make it to the championship game, and they lost 9-3.
“They held their heads high, they never gave up,” said Joseph.
Receiving a World Series ring and certificate for making it to the Big Dance were all dozen players: First baseman Ethan Shiver, second baseman Brian Lee Taylor, shortstop Kobe Joseph, third baseman Blanton Adair. pitcher Jasiah Fleming, catchers Kacen Taylor and Bryson Brown (sho switches out in right field) right fielder Weston Hollenbeck, right center fielder Micah King, left center fielder Gannon Poloronis, left center fielder Camden Roberts, and right and left center fielder Aydin Banks.
“We have a well-rounded team, all 12 guys, they done their part,” said Joseph.