Valley 9 and 10 boys head to state tournament

Published 10:18 pm Thursday, July 11, 2019

VALLEY — The Valley 9 and 10-year-old baseball All-Stars are en route to Tuscaloosa this weekend for the state tournament after winning the district championship at Bowers Park.

“They have worked extremely hard,” Valley parks and recreation athletic director Mark Hudmon said. “They had to practice around the holiday, they had a few days off, but they came right back the day after the fourth, practicing that weekend and have been practicing since then. They’ve been preparing themselves to be ready.”

Many players on this particular group were a part of the 7 and 8-year-old Valley all-star baseball team that finished a season as the state runner-ups. With the experience, the players have seen one component of the game that isn’t glorified on the little league level- bunting. 

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“They’ve seen in tournaments that they’ve got to be able to bunt the ball,” Hudmon said. “In a tight game, you’ve got to be able to move runners. They know they’re going to bunt, and I don’t think that there’s one kid on that lineup that would have a problem with bunting if that was the signal that they got or they were called upon to bunt. They’re very mature in that regard, whatever’s best for the time.”

The team also carries five or six solid starting pitchers into state this weekend, according to Hudmon. 

“They’re very positive,” Hudmon said of the team. “They’re willing to work together to make it possible for these boys. Parents play a big role because 9 and 10-year-olds can’t drive. They’re the ones that are getting them out to practice every day, hanging out there with them until they finish, making sure these parents organize things on the side for them to do as far as feeding them and setting up events outside of practice and the games. Parents play a  good role in this, and I have to say that we have a good group of parents.”

The first game of the tournament is on Friday is at 4 p.m. EDT against Bellingrath. Valley is playing in a double-elimination bracket, guaranteeing the team a second game of the weekend on Saturday.