Valley’s 10U All-stars team is another dominant team in a long line for Valley rec

Published 1:00 pm Friday, June 7, 2024

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Valley’s baseball program at the recreation level has been dominant for years, and the program has another dominant team this year with its 10U All-Star squad. 

This same 10U squad placed third in the state tournament last year, and the roster was made up of mostly nine-year-olds. Now, the kids are a year older and that much better. 

“We have a lot more depth at all the positions because the boys have played another full year of ball and gotten more comfortable with the game and on the mound especially,” Valley 10U coach Justin Whitehead said. “The jump from nine to 10 is huge because of the willingness to get in the box and not be afraid of the ball.” 

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Whitehead serves as the head coach with Casey Anglin and Joe Carswell serving as the assistant coaches. Cole Carswell, Cayden McCarley, Reason Lacy, Hudson Whitehead, Baylor Anglin, Noah Lynd, Ingram Smith, Mason Landrum, Benton Earl, Easton Allen, Hugh Chambley and Walker Wright make up the team’s roster. 

Last year served as a learning experience for Whitehead as he served as an assistant coach on the all-stars team. Along the way, Whitehead learned how to keep the kids engaged and involved.
Valley’s strength this season comes from its depth throughout the lineup as well as the strength of its pitching and defense. The team is made up of nine 10-year-olds and three nine-year-olds. Of the younger kids, two were on the roster last year and one was on the 8U team with the other kids two years ago. 

“I could talk about each one of them having an impact on the team,” Whitehead said. “It’s really a team effort. We’re very blessed with the talent that we have up and down the lineup.” 

Valley has dominated to start the district tournament, but Whitehead and the rest of the coaching staff are still looking to improve. Whitehead would like his team to cut down on the strikeouts and get the scoring started earlier in games. 

Valley’s recreation program has had several dominant Little League teams. This group of kids last year placed third at the state tournament, and Whitehead has his sights set on an even better finish this year. 

“The goal is always to win,” Whitehead said. “Us coming in third last year and bringing back the majority of the team, obviously we have to get through district, if we’re able to win district and make it to state, I’d like to be the last one standing. I think that’s realistic.” 

The Valley youth baseball teams have had a ton of support in the past, but that has shown even more this year. Even with the district tournament being in Beauregard, Valley’s fans have outnumbered the other teams. 

During this district tournament, the 8U and 12U team and their parents have shown up to show support for the 10U team. The team has also had the support of the high school athletes who won a state championship when they were still at the youth level. 

“We always have more fans than everybody else,” Whitehead said. “Valley is a city that always shows up… Valley across the board for any sport, really shows up to support the kids. It’s one of the things we try to harp on to these kids is making sure they look in the stands and know there’s a lot of people here that love them and are cheering them on to do their best.” 

Whitehead has coached his son Hudson on the all-star team since he was six. Along the way, Whitehead has gotten to see his son grow up in the sport. Whitehead has also seen the coaches and parents grow in the game each year. 

“It’s really rewarding,” Whitehead said. “It’s frustrating, but luckily he’s with a group of boys that really push him to get better. He’s one of the nine-year-olds on the team, there’s a lot of maturity and focus for him to look up to and strive to be.”