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Linden 12U All-Stars win state title

The Linden 12U All-Star baseball team won the state championship Monday, defeating Covington County in the final game 6-3.

The team will now advance to the Southeast Regional Tournament in Lakeland, Fla., on July 29.

“For a while, we were tied 1-1, and then after a few plays, Covington went up to 3-1, but we were able to come back in fourth and fifth innings,” said head coach Tim Collins, who cited teamwork as the unit’s rallying point.

“Every single kid contributed,” Collins said. “It was the best team effort that I’ve ever seen in all my years of coaching on any level. All of our players stepped up when they were needed, executed all the little things right, and I believe that made the difference in our victory.”

For an age group like this one, caught in the intervening years of childhood and puberty, teamwork and cooperation is not something that is always found in great supply.

“These kids now truly understand what it means to help each other, to pull together, and to truly be a team. For this age group to understand that, and put in practice, is very unique, I think, and very impressive,” Collins added. “They were able to hit the ball when they needed to, and came through when it was crucial.”

While the bats got hot when they were needed most, Collins said the team’s strategy inside the batter’s box would be a focus in the coming days.

“We do need to improve on our batting, because there is always room for improvement, and I feel that the more we’ve worked on it the better it’s gotten.”

Collins said he and his players and assistants are all looking forward to playing on a grander stage with a state title already in their pockets.

“I made a point to tell our players and their parents,” Collins recalled, “that we’ve done exceptionally well representing the town of Linden, but now we will be representing the entire of state of Alabama in this tournament, and that is a very big deal.”