By R. Alan Richardson
In unprecedented fashion for the Morgan County Recreation Department’s baseball program, the 7-8 year-old boys took home the very first state championship in the Department’s GRPA history. There were 12 youngsters that made the all-star squad that included:
Ty Tillery #23
Wyatt Singleton #1
Drew Ainslie #7
Robert Pearson #12
Jake Jenkins #18
Draco Frazzitta #00
Brody O’Neal #6
Jackson Fanning #2
Chris Timmons #17
Cad Braswell #14
Bryson Elwer #10
Davis Strickland #4
The team won the district in order to make it to state that included eight teams vying for the title from around Georgia. Head Coach Danny Tillery made these remarks, “This is the second year in a row that the Morgan County Recreation Department has hosted this tournament as well as the 9-10 year olds. They did a great job and I have to tip my cap to Lance Alexander, Drew Torok, and Jay Doss for the outstanding job they did. It ran like clockwork. These guys know what they’re doing and it showed throughout the tournament.”
Morgan ran roughshod through the competition scoring 49 runs in four games while allowing only 11 during that stretch. They run-ruled every team in five innings with dominant defense and hitting. The team had their work cut out as they got a tough draw coming into the tournament. They never faced lower than a four seed out of eight teams, and still came away with the trophy. Leading hitters were Ty Tillery, Robert Pearson, Jake Jenkins, and Bryson Elwer. Ty hit the only homerun of the tourney.
Assistant Coach Andrew Ainslie said, “We are real excited. The team has been working towards this since January and tried to let the kids know that we are hoping to make history. We did.” South Georgia teams have dominated the GRPA baseball tournaments for the past 30 years. It’s almost unheard of for a team above Macon to win a state championship, but the team batting average of .596 was too much for the opposition to overcome.
Tillery commented, “Our defense was far superior to the other teams we faced in the tournament. If they did make a mistake, they’ve learned not to hang their head and just move on to the next play. I think the major point is that the boys bought in to what we were telling them.” Ainslie piggy-backed on that comment saying, “These boys listened, were respectful to the coaches and each other, enjoyed being around their teammates, and understood constructive criticism. They learned to get past strikeouts, errors, and got some great life lessons and skills that all sports teach you. I also think they learned a respect for the game and how to play the game correctly.”
Tillery and Ainslie both agreed on one point saying, “One of the most important things that happened this year was that the parents and grandparents totally bought in to what we were doing. They allowed us to get the job done and let us do our job. The adults supported the coaches and realized that we were these kids’ role models. It was a big part of our success this season.” Jason Singleton was also an assistant coach for the team and Jake Hill was given a shout-out by the staff for his help during the travel ball season that most of these boys participated in
It looks like this is a team to watch competing in the future for a long, long time. Congratulations!