Babe Ruth 15s plan fireworks

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Chase "Duke" Karaczewski gives the thumbs-up for the 15-year-old all-stars, who open up district tournament play at Giles County Thursday night. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

fireworks All-Stars open district play Thursday night

When the Marshall County Babe Ruth League 15-year-old all-stars take the field at Sam Davis Park in Pulaski Thursday for the district tournament opener they will be ready.

"I feel pretty confident and I think we'll be OK. There is a lot of talent on this team," said manager Brian Eady, whose team faces Tullahoma at 6 p.m. "I honestly believe we'll win district and go to state and see what we can do there."

Giving it all

The squad has been working hard under the tutelage of Eady and coaches Mike Mills and Brian Snyder.

"The boys have been giving 110 percent and you can't ask for much more," Eady said.

"I'm excited, there is good talent here and my job is to bring the state title back here."

Eady is fortunate to have Mills by his side as the Marshall County Babe Ruth Hall of Fame member brings 23 years of experience to the table.

"I have a about 20 years of experience and Mike has about 400, so I think we'll be good to go," Eady said.

Going for No. 4

The 15's will be searching for their fourth state title, but it won't be easy, playing in hostile territory at Giles County over the holiday weekend.

Marshall County won its last state championship in 2002 under Danny Hollingsworth, and also claimed Volunteer State hardware in 1992 and '96.

Eady has a talented squad to work with, including a deep pitching rotation that includes Dylan Eady, Knox Barnes, Jarvis Lyttle, Lane Allen and Jackson Coward.

Jacob Autry gives the all-stars a solid catcher behind the plate and a big bat.

Top catcher

They also have the best catcher over the last two years in Jacob Autry, who won the MVP as a 14-year-old in 2014 and batted .466 this season for Nichirin.

Autry is as solid as you get behind the plate with a very strong arm and very rarely allows a ball get behind him.

"Autry is lights out back there, he has a cannon for an arm and blocks up about anything thrown at him," Eady said.

Infield

The infield is versatile with Chase "Duke" Karaczewski and Allen at first base and Nathan Thomason will hold down the second base spot.

Dylan Eady and Barnes will alternate at shortstop, and this year's Danny Hollingsworth Award winner, Tristan Maxwell, will be at third base.

Nathan Thomason turns a double play in practice for the 15-year-old all-stars.

Thomason came on strong at the end of this season, finishing fourth in the league with a .560 average, while Eady was right at .555.

Outfield

Colby Bluthardt will most likely get the nod in left field, and Jay Lyons is as good a centerfielder as there is, the manager said. Coward has speed, a great glove and probably the best arm on the team behind Autry, which is a key component to playing right field.

Right fielder Jackson Coward scoops up a ball and displays the rocket arm he possesses.

"Jackson didn't understand why he's in right field and I told him that he has one of the strongest arms in the league and you need that in right field because that's when you have the longest throws," the manager said.

In reserve and ready to help at any time are Will Vanhooser, Kolton Fitch and Jacob Harris.

Looking ahead

The Marshall County-Tullahoma winner will play at the same time on Friday against the Franklin County/Giles County winner.

The tournament continues Saturday and the championship contest is slated for Sunday at 2 p.m.

"You can't overlook anybody. We have Tullahoma out of the gate and they always produce good ballplayers down there," Eady said "We just have to take it one game at a time and if get the pitching I expect, we should be OK."

Manage Brian Eady talks some strategy with two members of his deep pitching staff in Jarvis Lyttle and Knox Barnes.

The state tournament also will be held at Pulaski, beginning on July 17.