Vying to be baseball’s best

by Michelle Dillon michelle@thecherokeean.com

Several teams from the Jacksonville Baseball and Softball Association and the Rusk Youth Sports Association began state tournament play this week, hoping to return home with titles. State tournaments began Monday, July 15, and will conclude Friday, July 19.

6U T-Ball

Eighteen teams, including the Jacksonville Knights and Jacksonville Indians, traveled to Mineola to compete for the state T-ball championship.

The Jacksonville Knights finished first in their district, advancing them to the state playoffs. The Knights lost their first game to the Axtel Rangers, but are not out yet. The team is set to play at 6 p.m. Tuesday against the Mineola Rangers. Should they win, they will play the victor of the Holland Hornets and Bartlett Bulldogs match.

The Jacksonville Indians finished the season with a 6-2 record and a second place finish at district. The team is coached by Joel Muniz and Jose Valdovinos along with assistant coaches Austin Gwartney and Eric Williams. The Indians lost their first game in the state tournament to the Bartlett Bulldogs, 27-19. They were scheduled to face the Temple Grasshoppers at 6 p.m. Tuesday. A win would place them in a 6 p.m. game Wednesday against either the Axtel Rangers or Buffalo Bison.

8U Coach Pitch

Eight teams traveled to Temple to compete for the state title. Among the teams are the Jacksonville Chiefs and Rusk Astros .

The Jacksonville Chiefs had a bye during first round games, but took on and defeated the Belton Hurricanes Monday night. They are set to play the Belton Bayou Bengals beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Should they win, the team will face either the Rockdale Astros or the Bosqueville Aces on Friday.

The Rusk Astros earned first place in district, propelling them to the state tournament. The team lost in their first round of play to the Bosqueville Aces Monday night, but were set to face the Temple Rangers at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Should the team earn a victory, they were scheduled to play the Belton Hurricanes at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

10U Boys

The Rusk Rangers captured first place in district, earning them a spot in the state tournament in Groesbeck. They are one of 13 teams hoping to earn a state title.

The first round draw resulted in a bye for the Rangers. The team’s first game Monday was against the Coleman Bluecats, which resulted in a loss. The Rangers were set to play at 4 p.m. Tuesday against Hubbard Weatherby.

12U Boys

One of 12 teams competing, the Rusk Eagles lost their opening bid for the state title at Whitehouse, falling to the Brownwood Giants. The team was scheduled to face the Belton Braves at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Should they find victory, they were to play the winner of the Leon Rohrer versus Whitehouse Red Sox at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

14U Boys

The Rusk Eagles, having earned the district title, travelled to Axtell to compete against eight other teams for a state championship. The team opened competition with a win in their first round of play, defeating the Brownwood Padres Monday night. The Eagles were slated to play Hillsboro Lewis beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Win or lose on Tuesday, the Rusk Eagles would continue in tournament play. If the team were to win Tuesday night, they would play at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday against either Groesbeck Cowey or Crawford Chambers. A loss would result in a 2:30 p.m. game Wednesday.