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Cardinals fly high…Cardinals finish season with 20-0 record

The Greenville Recreation Department Dixie Minor Cardinals finished their baseball season undefeated Thursday night as they put an amazing 20-0 record in the books.

Head Coach George Till said that going undefeated is "pretty amazing and almost unheard of" for a young team such as the Cards.

He said the team members "showed a lot of heart" throughout the season and each game was a struggle because "every team wants to knock off the top-place team." Till said the team members were very cooperative by showing up at every practice and every game and that the parents were very supportive throughout the entire season.

Coach Till said the pitching effort dominated nearly every game, and there were several outstanding pitchers such as Todd Burkett, Dustin Till and Cordez Peagler. He added that only a couple of games the Cardinals played this year went six innings.

That game was a battle with the league's second place team, the A's. He said the game was scoreless going into the sixth inning and the Cardinals began to heat up their bats. Till said that pitcher Todd Burkett pitched 106 pitches in six innings during that game.

Another nail-biter for the Cards was a game against the Cubs. The Cards were down but rallied in the last inning to beat the Cubs 6-5.

Till said that throughout the entire season the team kept a good attitude and never gave up in any game or situation. "I can't say enough about the kids' attitudes," he said. "Not many teams go 20-0 and I can't say I'll ever coach another team that will do that."

He said the coaches and team members learned a lot from each other this season and he is grateful for all the support given to him by his assistant coaches, Kenny Burkett and Pete Burleson.

"There were many good lessons learned by the kids and by Kenny and myself," he said. "Sometimes I feel like I'm just winging it, and I really appreciate Kenny and Pete for all their help."

Till said he has been coaching for about five years, since his son Dustin was five years old and playing t-ball with the Greenville Recreation Department. He said this year was the first year he got to have all his sons on the same team.

"It has been tough in past," he said, "trying to coach two teams at the same time and trying to get to every game and having every one at a different field."

He said the team he helped coach last year went 10-0 and many of the members on this year's undefeated Cardinal team were on last year's undefeated team.

"Many of these kids have not lost a game in 30 games straight," he said. "We (the coaches and parents) just love these kids and want them to be successful."

Till said he loves coaching and "sometimes I get to be a kid again myself. I've had good help and that takes up a lot of our slack," he added.

The Cardinals scored 237 runs in 20 games and only 45 runs were allowed against them the entire season.

"These kids hung in there and pulled together and we had a really awesome season," Till said.

During closing ceremonies held after Thursday night's games, the Dixie Youth all-star team members and coaches were also announced. All-Star team members for the 2002 season are: Todd Burkett, Matt Burkett, Hunter Harrell, Jay Johnson, Cooper Lewis, Daniel Nolan, Cordez Peagler, Josh Ray, Dustin Shell, Ryan Smith, Dustin Till, Stephen Till and Gray Vinson. Coaching the All-Stars will be: George Till, Kenny Burkett and Pat Smith.