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Brook 14s making history in Texas

Back in April, when registration began for the Brookhaven DixieBoys Baseball League, few if any players were thinking about anall-star appearance in the World Series. Today, 12 players andthree coaches from the Brookhaven league find themselves makinghistory in Grand Prairie, Texas, when the World Series teams areintroduced.

Brookhaven’s 14-year-old all-stars, fresh from winning the DixieBoys State Tournament in Taylorsville, meet the Louisiana statechampion from Bossier City at 4 p.m. Saturday. Win or lose, they’llplay again Sunday in the double-elimination tournament, either at 1p.m. or 7.

Joining the Brookhaven (Mississippi) squad in the tourney areteams from Louisiana, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas,Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and GrandPrairie, the host team.

“We are very proud of this group of kids,” said Brookhavenmanager/head coach Terry Britt. “They have worked hard and playedas a team. They have done everything we asked them to do.”

Britt’s team went undefeated in the state tournament. “I thinkwe will make a good showing out there in Texas. We beat someoutstanding teams in the state tournament.”

Assistant coach Darrell Rushing said he agreed with Britt. “I’vebeen helping coach since a lot of these boys started in T-ball, atleast eight years. Ability-wise, they are definitely the best.

“They are a great bunch to represent Brookhaven andMississippi,” said Rushing. “We have had a ball coaching them.”

Brookhaven’s Mississippi all-star squad includes Tyler Case,Dehendric Collins, T.J. Floyd, J.J. Jones, Ryan Kennedy, ColtonLaird, Travis Leggett, Matt Magee, Michael Martin, Brett Rushing,Cody Smith and Zach Williams.

Williams, a catcher, said he was looking forward to the WorldSeries. “We are very excited. Our team has good hitting anddefense. We have good team spirit, too.”

Kennedy, a southpaw pitcher who has amassed many strikeouts thisseason, said team chemistry has made the team succeed. “We worktogether and rely on each other. We trust each other.”

Britt opted for a laid back approach as his team approached thestate tournament. He continued that philosophy in preparation forthe World Series.

“We want the kids to have fun in Texas,” said Britt. “This is agreat experience for them.”

The team had a light practice Tuesday at Exchange Club Park’sLegion Field. On Wednesday, they took batting practice and thepitchers loosened up at West Lincoln’s covered batting cage.

Assistant coach John Floyd said the team would realize somelifetime memories this summer. “Back in April when they signed upfor the league, I wonder how many of these kids would have everdreamed they would wind up winning the state tournament and goingto the World Series in Texas.”

It’s been 24 years since a Brookhaven team last advanced to asummer league World Series. In 1982, the Dizzy Dean Baseball SeniorLeague all-star team won state and advanced to the Series inMontevallo, Ala.