Pain Train finishes ninth at World Series

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Chelsea Pain Train capped off a great season by finishing tied for ninth in the Dizzy Dean world Series last week in Southaven, Miss. There were 28 teams competing in the event.

The Pain Train started off slow in their first round game against the Hobgood Storm out of Georgia. Trailing 6-4, shortstop PacMan Stallings blasted a pitch to the left field wall to score three runs and give the Pain Train the lead for good. Outfielder Cade “Buckshot” Mims had a diving catch in the outfield as Hobgood had the bases loaded with two outs in the third inning.

“Buckshot has been doing that for us all season,” Pain Train head coach R.J. Hughes said. “Whenever we need an out, I’m always hoping the opposing hitters hit it towards Buckshot.”

The most exciting game of the World Series may have been the Pain Train’s narrow loss to Alabama state champion Gardendale in the second round. Chelsea raced out to 11-2 lead off the bats of third baseman Carson Vickers and right fielder Brady Elrod. Both players had four RBIs in the game.

Centerfielder Maddux Michael came up with the defensive play of the tournament in the third inning. Gardendale cleanup hitter “Buttabean” Combs hit a hard line drive toward the right center field wall. Michael tracked it down and made the diving grab.

“That might have been the best catch I have seen from a kid in this age group,” assistant coach Mike McNamee said. “When that ball left the bat, I don’t think anybody thought it was going to get caught.

Gardendale was widely considered to be the best bunting team at the World Series, but Pain Train infielder Aiden Hughes made it tough for the Rockets to get on base with his quick reactions to their bunts. “He’s a difference maker for us,” assistant head coach Chris Vickers said. “With his speed and awareness, it makes it awfully difficult for teams to bunt successfully against us.”

Although the Pain Train bats were hot, their defense suffered late and Gardendale took advantage of some miscues from Chelsea to win 18-13.

“That was a tough one,” Pain Train Head coach R.J. Hughes said. “We just played so well for three innings. We just couldn’t finish it off.”

The Pain Train didn’t have to let their frustration over the loss to Gardendale fester long as they jumped out to a 19-3 lead over team UFO from Chattanooga before a rain delay stopped the action. After the delay, the Pain train held on to win 19-13. Elrod again was huge for Chelsea and he contributed six RBIs in the game.

“Brady just caught fire at the plate during this tournament,” McNamee said. “He just kept coming up with big hit after big hit for us.”

The Pain Train’s World Series run ended at the hands of the Canton Stingers out of Georgia. With a 1-0 lead, Pain Train second baseman Carter “Downtown” Dotson smoked a fastball to the left centerfield wall for a three run home run to give Chelsea a 4-1 lead. Despite great defensive play by Stallings, Vickers and first baseman Reeves McNamee, the Pain Train could not hold on and lost 8-5. Pain Train left fielder Parker Sizzko went 2-3 at the plate in the loss.

“It was a great experience for our players, coaches and our fans,” Hughes said. “I was proud of our effort.”