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Rookies show well at state

The Luverne Rookies also took third place at state competition. The team lost its final game to Alexandria, 8-7. Submitted Photo

By: Scott McLendon

The 12 and under Luverne Rookies who claimed their district title were unable to capture the state honors as well. The young men of Crenshaw County bowed out of the tournament to a thrilling, albeit heartbreaking near comeback.

“These kids understand the way the game is and that it is just a game,” head coach Ricky Weed said. “We want them to learn more about the life lessons from the game. Sometimes calls don’t go your way. Sometimes you’re going to be down and you have to fight back and we did that in a couple of games.”

The Rookies faught for their wins throughout the entire tournament. Competition was stiff, but they continuously prevailed.

“We were down 7-0 at one point and we came back to tie it 7-7,” Weed said. “We ended up losing in extra innings 8-7. I think they are very mature for 11 and 12 yearold kids. They don’t have the “me, me” mentality, it’s about “we” as a team and what we can do together. They know they’re representing their families and their town. I think they did a really good job at that.”

The prolific high school baseball teams of Crenshaw County have had an impact on these younger athletes. The success of these teams spanning various ages is testament to the coaches and parents who provide the platform for these athletes to thrive.

“The high school players are good role models for these kids to look at,” Weed said. “They know that eventually they’ll be the ones on those high school teams representing Brantley, Luverne, CCA, Highland Home and I think they know that’s their next step. Some of these kids will actually be able to play junior varsity next year for their school. I think it was good for them to get this under their belt. They’ve seen the real game situations and they know that one day it’ll be them representing their schools and just keep on going like they’re going now.”

Weed encourages the team to focus on how far they have come, and their many accomplishments

“They saw that you have to have a little bit of fight and drive to you to accomplish your goals in life,” Weed said. “We set goals when we started this All-Star team and we won our district and went on to state. We took it one game and one inning at a time. Just like when you get out of school and into the workforce, your attitude is everything and has a lot to do with how your success is going be. If you go into work or wherever pouting all the time people may decide to stay away from you, but if you’ve got that good attitude you can move forward in life. In that state tournament we went 3-2. Four years ago, eight of these players went to state in pitching machine and didn’t win a game. I told them that we won three games and that’s huge. They did that as a team.”