Vincent 12U headed to World Series

Published 4:19 pm Monday, July 15, 2013

By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer

VINCENT — The Vincent 12U All-Stars played through the Alabama Dizzy Dean Youth Baseball Stat Tournament knowing they had a shot to make the World Series with or without winning the championship. When the team found out it had clinched a spot in Southhaven, Miss., it could have taken things easy, coasting and conserving its energy for the big show.

Instead, the Yellow Jackets powered through the 16-team tournament, winding up third after compiling a 5-2 record.

“We’re really pleased,” said coach Shawn Martin. “We have been all year.”

The Jackets opened up the tournament with a win over Clay July 5, and took on eventual tournament champion Jasper in the second round. The Jackets fell, and were placed in the loser’s bracket.

They faced an uphill battle, but the Jackets proceed to march through the competition, taking down Walker County, North Chilton and Northport all in succession.

Heavy rains drew out the length of the tournament, which should have concluded July 9, postponing the matchup against Springville for two days. When the game finally took place, Vincent 12U crushed Springville and moved into the semifinals against Huffman.

Martin said the team came out flat, and lost 13-0, but said the loss and elimination from state championship contention didn’t affect the team.

“They’re fine,” he said. “They knew coming in we were running out of pitching. It seemed the parents were more nervous.”

Martin said while the loss was tough, the team was now focused on bringing the World Series trophy back to Vincent.

“They’re so excited,” he said. “When we started eight years ago, this nucleus of kids was on my All-Star team. We’ve tried to keep them together.”

Martin went on to say it was tough playing against such strong competition, as Vincent is one of the smaller teams in the state.

“There are 71 community leagues (in the state),” he said. “To finish third out of 71, we’ll take that any day.”

The team has just a few days to raise the money needed to make the trip, but Martin said he knew the team would be fine. He said the team hosted a car wash and made a good portion of the money, and that the town was helping as well.

“(It’s) about $6,000 to get uniforms, get them in a hotel room for two maybe three nights, and take them out,” he said. “Everybody’s stepping up to the plate.”