State tourney awaits for 14-year-old All-Stars

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

West Alabama 14-year-old All-Stars head coach Seth Allgood knows that when his team opens play at the state tournament Thursday afternoon in Childersburg, their opponents are going to have something his team doesn’t: team experience.

“It puts you behind teams that have battled to get there. It’s been two and a half weeks since our guys have played in a real game. I think it is a disadvantage. But,” he quickly adds, “I don’t think it’s going to hurt us all that much.”

Why not? How would the Demopolis 14-year olds–who have not had to qualify through preliminary qualifying tourneys–make up the difference in team cohesion and rustiness? Simple–good pitching and good defense.

“Our pitching is where it needs to be,” Allgood says. “We’ve been playing defense real well. If we can hit behind our pitchers, I think we’ll have a good chance at winning.”

It’s also true that the team won’t exactly be meeting each other for the first time in Childersburg. Besides playing alongside–and taking on–each other in the West Alabama Babe Ruth League for the past two months, the team played a scrimmage double-header against a 14-year-old team from Meridian the previous weekend. The team lost one and tied the other, but Allgood says he was encouraged by the second game, in which the team battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh.

Getting the first start for the Demopolis 14-year-olds will be Justin Guy, fresh off of winning a title with his Babe Ruth team, Greene County Steam Plant. Guy received the starting assignment in the League’s championship game as well.

“I think he’ll give us a real shot to win the game,” Allgood says.

Bottom line, Allgood says, is that the team is as prepared as it could be under the circumstances.

“We’ve been somewhat limited in what we could do, with the weather and everything,” he says. “But I’m real pleased with the way the kids have responded, and I was pleased with how we played the two scrimmage games. We’ve got a real good chance to go down there and compete.”

Allgood is joined on the coaching staff by Kevin May and Tony Speegle.

Team members include Guy, Alex Glass, Tyler Morrison, Trey Lloyd, Tanner Armstrong, Ryan Guin, Morgan LeCroy, Stephen Stewart, Shelby Speegle, Trey Oates, Alan Brooker, and Jacob Kerby.