Bombers aim for the stars

Friday, July 24, 2015
Allante Watts gets some swings in the cage on Wednesday night. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

Marshall 14-year-old stars prepare for trip to Jupiter, regionals

The Marshall County Babe Ruth League 14-year-old all-stars' goal is a Southeast Regional Tournament title in Jupiter, Florida, next week.

"This will be an honor for Marshall County to go down there and represent Tennessee," coach Greg Bradford said. "Can we make history? Yes, I think we can. And, I know these kids are ready, and we'll go down there and give it our all."

Bombers' coaches Greg Bradford (left) and Damon Mealer discuss some strategy during batting practice.

It would be a first for the league, whose best finish was in 1996 when the 14-year-olds, coached by Danny Hollingsworth earned the runner-up spot at Indian Hills, North Carolina.

Powerful push

The Bombers have had an amazing run, blitzing the fields in the district and state tournaments with their lone loss coming via a forfeit in the second game of the district tournament at Lewisburg.

From left, Dustin Brashear, Dylan Pendley and Jaylen Smith are proud and ready to bring home a Southeast Regional title next week.

"It felt good to go up there and sweep that state tournament," Bradford said. "But we're going to face all tough opponents in Florida and we have to be solid every game."

The Bombers have lived up to their name, rolling opponents by a combined score of 117-13 in both postseason tournaments.

Amazingly, Bradford wasn't happy with the team's offensive effort in Cookeville last weekend, and had the squad in the batting cages on Wednesday.

Hunter Haurez loosens up his arm during practice.

Batting practice

"We struggled with our bats a little bit at Cookeville, so we're working on some things to get it back," Bradford said. "We have some hitters on this team and with young kids it may be one little thing that can get them going again."

The Bombers will practice the rest of the week in preparation before heading to Florida for opening ceremonies on Tuesday.

Dylan Pendley soft tosses to Walker Whaley at practice.

There are eight teams that will be vying for the title and a spot in the World Series at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on Aug. 13.


Two divisions make up the bracket at Florida with Marshall County in the National Division with the host Jupiter squad, a yet to be determined team from East Carolina and the Bombers' first round opponent from Tallahassee, Florida, on Wednesday.

Mitchell Ford and the rest of the 14-year old all-stars were in great spirits Wednesday night as they worked hard in preparation for their journey to Florida next week.

"That'll be tough, those Florida teams are always stout and the North Carolina teams are always tough," the manager said. "They've been doing this for a long time and their name is always out there."

The American Division consists of an undetermined West Carolina team, Sarasota, Florida, Gainesville, Virginia, and Fish Hawk, Florida.

Marshall County will play the East Carolina team on Thursday and Jupiter on Friday.

Only the top two teams in each division advance to the semifinal round on Saturday.

Getting ready

"We have to finish up some fundraising that we have to do and practice until Saturday before heading down on Monday to get ready for the opening ceremonies," Bradford said.

The Bombers' final fundraising effort will take place today with a car wash at NAPA in Lewisburg from 8 a.m. to noon.