From the Sidelines: Demopolis all-stars should be proud

Published 7:56 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rob Pearson can scarcely keep from smirking as he sheepishly and jokingly refers to himself as “just an old country bookkeeper.” Pearson, the District 10 commissioner for Cal Ripken Baseball, also holds the head coach position for the Demopolis 12U all-star team that completed its sheer domination of the D10 tournament.

But before putting too much stock into that fact, know immediately that Pearson takes virtually no credit for his team’s accomplishments.

“I’ve got the best assistant coaches,” Pearson will say when prodded. And there is likely at least some truth to that statement.

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But the fact is that entirety of the coaching staff is quick to point to the special group of players that make up the 12U roster.

As 11-year-olds, the same basic group of boys traveled to state with little expectations and made an eye-opening run deep into the tournament. Prior to this year’s District 10 bracket, Pearson and his staff knew the team entered the draw six-deep in pitchers but had numerous questions regarding the squad’s hitting prowess.

What they discovered upon the tournament’s first game was that the 12U team has basically no deficiencies.

The team opened with a 14-1 win over Sumter County. The two closest games the team played were a 7-0 win over Linden and a 9-2 victory over Greensboro.

Over seven games, Demopolis outscored its opponents 87-4 en route to putting a stranglehold on the district championship.

While the 87 runs are certainly impressive, the fact that the team limited opponents to 0.57 runs per contest.

Josh Holifield, Heath Stanford, Blake Bowden, Justin Sanders, Stephen Stewart and Tripp Perry collectively surrendered only two earned runs throughout the entire tournament and gave up only one hit during the Monday night double-header that capped the bracket.

Pearson said heading into the tournament that the most important ting for the boys to do was to discover the joy of playing good baseball. Judging by the smiles that seemed to become permanent facial features for the team, that task was certainly accomplished for at least seven games.

The story is far from over for the boys as they ready to head to Gadsden and make their run at the state championship. But regardless of what happens from this point, the value of what has been accomplished by a dozen 12-year-old boys from Demopolis can scarcely be overstated.