All-Stars committed to shine as one

Friday, July 4, 2008
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca Bayley Dowers, Demi Davis, and Kelsey Wortham get loose before practice.

What does it take to mold a group of the best of the best talent in the Marshall County Little League into a team of twelve committed players willing to lay it on the line for each other to reach a common goal of winning?

"Commitment," said Mike "Gumby" Wortham, manager of the 11 and 12 year old girl All-Stars. "Commitment from all 12 girls, commitment from every parent, and commitment from the coaches to lay it on the line for each other every day to be the best."

"Gumby," along with his longtime partner, Joe Calahan, will be on the bench this year to coach, but there are many others behind the scenes who contribute as much to the effort.

"This is the first year we have had somebody, all the time, willing to help in all phases. This is the most commitment and cooperation from parents we have ever had," said the two coaches from the league champion Classic Cleaning squad.

"Just look at all the help we have had from men not on the coaching staff, like Kenny Campbell, Jason Wolaver, Casey Davis, and Dwayne Dowers, who have helped prepare the girls, on the field. Jason has just been huge for the girls. He has been something different for them. Most of these girls we have both coached since they were 8 years old and we can get old on them. Jason has brought a new perspective."

Calahan said, "Truth be known, we have talent here."

Wortham agreed and said, "This is a talented team. Every girl is capable of playing multiple positions. This is a true All-Star team this year. They are definitely capable of winning state. We would have to say this is the most rounded and athletic team we have coached since the Haley Fagan teams of 2002 and 2003."

"This is a very good hitting team; everybody put the ball in play in Pulaski last week during the district championship. We had only two strikeouts the entire tournament, which is amazing."

A grueling task faces every All-Star team. This is what they will do for their entire summer vacation from school: play ball.

Four or five days of practice a week for two weeks lead up to the district tournaments, followed by the state tournament.

Winning the state is just the beginning. The MCLL has had a total of nine state titles in its history, but no team has gone beyond the next step of region play to qualify for the coveted World Series title.

For Gumby's girls, the task is even made h...Pick up a copy of today's edition, Friday, July 4, 2008, for entire article and photos.