Pain Train headed to state championship

Chelsea Pain Train second baseman Gannon Pharr dives for a ball in an all-start contest. The Pain Train won the June 11-12 tournament. (Contributed/Cari Dean)

Chelsea Pain Train second baseman Gannon Pharr dives for a ball in an all-start contest. The Pain Train won the June 11-12 tournament. (Contributed/Cari Dean)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Chelsea Pain Train recently captured the Dizzy Dean 7U Regional Championship by defeating a monster group of hitters in Pell City June 12-11.

There have been a few changes to the roster from last year’s team but expectations remain high for the Pain Train as they prepare to play in the State Championship in Gardendale on July 5. Running the show this year again for the Pain Train is head coach R.J. Hughes.

“We’ve got a good group,” Hughes said. “Most of the players are back from last year’s squad and they know what to expect this year. Last year everything was kind of new to the kids.”

The Pain Train added second baseman Gannon Pharr and a power hitting first baseman “Shady” Watkins. Both players contributed greatly during the team’s regional championship run.

Pharr follows leadoff batter Aiden Hughes in the lineup to give Chelsea one of the toughest one, two batters in the state.

“Those two are just tough outs no matter where they hit,” Chelsea hitting instructor Jose Rodriguez said. “They run the bases as well as anybody and it’s a huge benefit to the team.”

The Pain Train was led in the championship game by third baseman Carson Vickaz. Despite nursing a 102 degree fever before game time, Vickaz blasted two doubles and had five RBI’s in the win over Pell City. “When he’s on, we don’t see a whole lot a kids hit like him,” Assistant Coach David Mims said. “He just has power that very few kids have at his age. Knowing that he was sick, I couldn’t believe how well he hit in the regional championship.”

Leading the defensive charge for the Pain Train has been left fielder Parker Sizzko.  He managed to snag 8 balls in the outfield in an early game against Pell City. Playing right next to Sizzko in centerfield, Cade “Buckshot” Mimms managed to snag two fly balls and throw out two runners at second in a key victory over Clanton.

Right fielder Carter “Down Town” Dotson made what is very likely the best catch in Pain Train history with his flying grab in the gap off the bat of a Pell City batter.

The Pain Train will have to be clicking on all cylinders if they want to bring home a state championship. Last year the Pain Train finished 7th behind powerhouses like NorthPort, Gardendale, and Limestone County.

However they finish, Shortstop Paxton Stallings and catcher Austin Hughes will play a big part in the outcome. Stallings is back for his third year of playing shortstop in the post season. “I think he’s having his best year,” McNamee said.

The Pain Train will once again head to the World Series this season in SouthHaven, Miss. On July 19th. “We are looking forward to it,” Hughes said. We had a great time last season and we hope we can build on that success this year.”