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Monday, July 22, 2024

Traveling Warriors Showcase Sebastian County Super Stars

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Pictured are the Warriors watching a Texas Rangers game

Travel baseball coach, Kevin Allen, started coaching t-ball for Eastside Baptist Church in 2012. “We played in the Fort Smith Church League full time for five years. In our sixth year, we played both church league and started to travel, but only played a handful of tournaments. In that year we won the 9U All-Star State Tournament in Conway. After that, we were hooked and started traveling full-time the next season with 10U players. So for the last four years, we have traveled full time.”

This seasons roster consisted of Cooper Edwards – Mansfield, Steven Thornburg – Hackett, Travir Shelton – Fort Smith, Bradley Chandler – Greenwood, Wesley Raggio – Greenwood, Elijah Rogers – Hackett, Jeremiah Shaw – Greenwood, Logan Thessing – Fort Smith, Walker Allen – Fort Smith, Rhett Moss – Fort Smith, and Wilson Key – Fort Smith. And coaching alongside Allen was Randy Moss, Steven Thessing, Travis Shelton, and Billy Thornburg.

This past season for the USSSA AA Warriors was good but tough as they faced many other talented teams. With a record of 25-21, the Warriors decided that they were going to play in a World Series in Dallas mainly because they had divisions while most other locations didn’t. “We wanted to play within our own classification of AA. But we endured a slight bump in the road where two of our players were unable to attend so we picked up two additional players, Michael Polecat from Muldrow and Maddox McCalip from Fort Smith, to attend the series with us.”

The Third Place AAA World Series Warriors

Now having the play situation under control, the Warriors were ready to go. Or so they thought. At the last minute, they were informed by the state director that the team Polecat and McCalip played on, had been bumped from AA to AAA. That now meant that the team had to move up to a bigger team division as well. But the Warriors lived up to their name and continued to push ahead. “After fundraising and paying for the trip, we couldn’t cancel and it wasn’t fair to tell Michael and Maddox that they couldn’t play. So we bumped up to AAA and went to play!”

“I will have to say though, that my expectations for the entire series were to just survive.” The Warriors suited up for a five-game guarantee tournament with three pool games and a double elimination bracket. The pool games started on a Wednesday with the bracket games that Friday. “Given it was double elimination, teams were losing out and done by Friday. But my first goal was to make it to Saturday. Our boys responded well and against all odds won three straight games on Friday to advance to Saturday in the winners bracket.”

Come Saturday, the Warriors started out down to a team after they scored four runs in the first but battled to win their first game 11-6. The boys suffered a loss in their next game but they still advanced to the semi-final round on Sunday. After swimming in a shark tank of 22 blood-thirsty AAA teams, the underdog AA Warriors combatted through many ups and downs to finish Third Place in the AAA World Series. “We are so proud of the effort that these boys put forth no matter how hard things got!”

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