The Valdosta Daily Times
The Georgia Guns, a local 11-and-under travel baseball team from Valdosta, won the USSSA state championship last weekend in Cordele.
The Guns won their last five games of the tournament, and defeated the Bainbridge Bearcats in a best-of-three series to win the state title.
“I really couldn’t be prouder,” Georgia Guns head coach Kevin Beals said. “We’ve had a great year. We’ve got a great group of kids. ... They deserve it, with the work they’ve put in.”
The Guns scored 63 runs in the tournament, and only allowed 37.
The Georgia Guns earned a spot in the USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) World Series, which begins June 26 in Panama City, Fla.
“We’re gearing up to go to the World Series. The boys are excited about it,” Beals said.
At the state tournament, the Guns lost their first game 14-4 to the Diamond Bears from Grey. Palmer Henderson and Alex Jones hit home runs for the Guns in the loss.
The Guns bounced back with a 7-3 victory over the Columbus ScrambleDogs on Saturday. They pounded out 10 hits and got solid pitching performances from Henderson and Drew Jeffords.
In their next game, the Guns routed the Colquitt County Cyclones 17-0. Brett Beals and Henderson hit home runs for the Guns. The team pounded out 16 hits. John Michael McRae, Tyson Shaw and Johnny Retterbush combined for the shutout on the mound.
In the semifinals of the tournament, the Guns faced the Diamond Bears again. This time, the Guns came out on top, beating the Bears 12-5. Jones and Brett Beals combined for the win.
The win over the Diamond Bears placed the Guns in a best-of-three championship series against the Bainbridge Bearcats on Sunday.
In Game 1 of the championship series, the Guns collected 16 hits and won the game 14-7. Brett Beals and Henderson both homered for the Guns. John Michael McRae and Jones had three hits apiece, while Grant McLendon and Jeffords each had two. Jones and Beals combined for the win.
Game 2 of the championship series was a see-saw battle. The score was tied 3-3 after one inning, then the Bearcats scored three runs in the top of the third to take a 6-3 lead. The Guns responded with three runs in the bottom of the third to tie the score at 6-6. The Guns added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 9-6 lead. Bainbridge scored a run in the top of the fifth, making it 9-7, but could not score again, and the Guns wrapped up the championship.
Henderson was the winning pitcher, throwing a complete game. Henderson and Dustin Doscher had two hits each.
“The boys showed a lot of character and determination, which led to their ultimate victory,” Coach Beals said. “During the weekend, everybody contributed to our success. Key hits, sacrifices and solid defensive plays were provided by Nathan Trees and Rett McLeod. The Georgia Guns are a very hard working group of boys who show great character both on and off the field. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The Georgia Guns have won five tournaments this year, and have placed second in three others. They also played in the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority’s 11-12 year-old league, and finished first.
The team is seeking sponsors or donations to help with their trip to the World Series. For more information, contact coach Kevin Beals at (229) 561-3861 or coach Kip McLeod at (229) 300-3755.