By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
NORTH LAUREL — The North Laurel 11 & 12-year-old All-Star team will try to repeat as Little League state champions beginning this weekend at the Winchester Little League Complex.
North Laurel went undefeated during District 4 play, but ran into a little trouble in the championship game before defeating Tri-City, 13-12, in eight innings.
“We are really playing well right now,” North Laurel coach Shane Brewer said. “I’m really impressed with the way we have played, especially since we have only four players off last year’s team.
“We have seven younger players that have contributed and I am very pleased with them — you can’t ask for a better group of kids,” he added. “They put in a lot of hard work. Heck, we practiced for three hours today (Tuesday) and they worked really, really hard.”
North Laurel will enter the state tournament sporting one of the best offensive and pitching attacks.
Brewer’s squad batted .504 during district tournament play with Madison McDaniel, Madison Sechrest, Makinlee Philpot, Hannah Carson, Emilee Albright, Kelsey Batton, Hannah Carson, Jade Williams, Jazz Jervis, Alexis Gibson and Olivia Miller all swinging the bats good, according to Brewer.
“We are a good hitting team,” he said. “That has to be our strength. All of our girls are capable of hitting the ball really well in a game and they all showed that during the district tournament.
“We just need to continue to hit the ball like we have been,” Brewer added. “We know we’re going to have to face some good teams, so we’re going to have to continue to swing the bat well.”
Another strength for North Laurel is its pitching.
With the state tournament’s pool play being played in three consecutive days, Brewer admitted it’s important for his pitching staff to turn in solid outings.
“Our pitching is going to be key,” he said. “All of the girls have really turned in good efforts so far and we’ll need that to continue. Both Madison McDaniel and Jazz Jervis have both looked good along with our other girls.”
Brewer believes his team can make another run at a state championship if his players come ready to play.
“This is what they have worked for,” he said. “They have really worked hard to get to this point. I believe we have a very good shot, but we’re going to have to get good pitching, hitting and solid defense to win it.”
The state tournament’s opening ceremonies begin Friday with pool play starting Saturday and will continue Sunday and Monday. Single elimination tournament play begins Tuesday with the championship game scheduled for Wednesday.
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
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