Greenville All-Stars chasing state title

Published 1:02 pm Thursday, July 21, 2011

Greenville’s Dixie Youth All-Stars need five more wins to make their dreams of playing for a World Series championship a reality.

Greenville’s biggest competition in earning those wins may very well be itself.

“I really feel like there’s no one there that can beat us if we play to our level,” Greenville head coach Scott Scroggins said. “I think the only team that can beat us is Greenville.”

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Scroggins and his squad will open the 2011 Alabama Majors State Tournament Saturday against Headland. First pitch is slated for 7 at Opelika’s West Ridge Park. The winner of that contest will then face the winner of the Opelika-Monroe County game. That game will start at 4 p.m. Sunday. The 11-team tournament will span six days with the champion being crowned Thursday. For Greenville, this marks the sixth consecutive trip to the state tournament.

The team advanced to the state tournament by winning the District 9 tournament and in the process left little doubt about who the district’s top team was. Greenville outscored its opponents 55-14 and smashed nine home runs, including four in a semifinal showdown with Crenshaw County.

“This is one of the best hitting teams I have ever been around,” Scroggins said. “From top to bottom these guys can hit.”

But while Greenville impressed at the plate, Scroggins said the team’s real strength is defense.

“These guys field the ball well, and that’s really the strongest part of our game,” he said. “If you’re going to win state you’re going to have to play defense because these teams are going to put the ball in play. We have good pitching, but at this point in the season, teams are going to hit the ball and you’ve got to be able to make plays in the field.”

That will be a change from the district tournament where Greenville’s pitchers allowed just 12 hits in five games.

Greenville’s combination of hitting, defense and pitching has Scroggins thinking championship – as in World Series championship.

“I’m really optimistic,” Scroggins said. “I think we need to be getting ready for a parade in Greenville. I wouldn’t say that unless I believed it. I think this team really has a shot.”