Up & Coming Weekly

July 23, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 19 of 28

JULY 24-30, 2019 UCW 19 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Hope Mills News & Views NEWS Cox leads solid bunch to World Series by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Kolasa, 10U girls stay humble chasing title by EARL VAUGHAN JR. When asked to single out the best players on his state championship Hope Mills National 8U Dixie Youth Baseball team, coach Jesse Cox couldn't come up with an answer. "I love all 12 of them,'' he said. "Every kid did a job and did it well.'' Cox, who has been coaching Dixie Youth baseball for six years, will join his fellow coaches and the national team on a long ride to Ruston, Louisiana, for the Dixie Youth 8U World Series. Opening ceremonies are July 26. Hope Mills will begin pool play at 9 a.m. the next morning against Alabama and then at noon against South Carolina. This is Cox's second year coaching in Hope Mills, after previously coaching in Gray's Creek. The all-star team he is taking to Louisiana is composed of players from the four teams in the Hope Mills 8U league. There are eight players from Cox's regular-season team with four more coming from the other teams in the league. Cox said he got input from his fellow coaches and their wives when putting the all-star team together. The 8U level in Dixie Youth is what's known as a coach-pitch league. The players from each team don't pitch in the games. A coach from each team pitches to his own players when they are at bat while the opposing team is in the field play- ing defense. There is a pitcher on field with the coach who is pitching, but that pitcher only plays the position as a defender. Each batter gets five pitches to try and hit the ball. If the batter strikes out normally on three strikes, that's an out. If the batter fails to put the ball in play in five pitches, he's declared out. Since there's no way to scout the opposition before going to the World Series in Louisiana, Cox said he's focusing on the basics with his team along with trying to raise money any way possible to help pay the team's many expenses for the 13-hour trip. "We are preparing for another tournament, the next six innings of baseball,'' Cox said. "We keep a level-headed focus with these guys so they don't see any intimidation factor. "We make them feel like, mentally, they can play with anybody. That's how we approach every practice and every game.'' Cox said there have been no changes to the way the team practices, just sticking with funda- mental baseball. The top two teams in each division of pool play at the World Series will advance to the eight-team double elimination championship bracket. The teams that fail to qualify will be placed in a consolation bracket where they will compete separately before heading home. Cox's team has held a number of fundraisers, including seeking corporate sponsors for a ban- ner. If anyone would like to make a last-minute contribution to the team before they leave July 26, contact Cox at 910-308-5524. If you're looking for raucous celebrations from coach Doren Kolasa and his Hope Mills Angels 10U state champion Dixie Youth soft- ball team, you'll quickly be disappointed. "We don't jump up, and we don't act silly,'' Kolasa said of his team when they win. But it's not because they're an unhappy bunch — just a respectful one. "We teach them to stay hum- ble. Make sure (they) understand somebody lost. We have time to celebrate later.'' Kolasa's team has been doing a lot of cele- brating so far in the run through the state Dixie Youth 10U tournament. The team now finds itself headed to Alexandria, Louisiana, and a trip to the 10U Dixie Youth World Series. Kolasa has been pleased with the way this 12-player group of all-stars has meshed in the postseason. "I think they the first thing is communication,'' he said. "It's hard to get players to communicate.'' In addition to communication, Kolasa has some genuine talent on the team, starting with pitcher August "Little A" Kebort. "This is a girl people need to watch,'' he said. "She struck me out the other day in practice.'' Kebort has been striking a lot of people out. In 20.2 innings, she has 52 strikeouts. She's also the team's top hitter, with an .850 batting average. Another pitching standout is Haylee Lamb, who has 17 strikeouts in 9.2 innings. A surprise addition to the rotation is Jaycee Parnell, who was the catcher most of the season. In the postseason she's pitched 8.2 innings with 19 strikeouts. Parnell is also a leading hitter, with a .650 batting average, along with Kolasa's daughter, McKinley "Boo Boo" Kolasa. She's batting .556 and is also a defensive star at first base. Another defensive standout is Jazelle Young at third base. At press time, the full schedule for the World Series had not been set. After opening-day ceremonies July 26, Hope Mills is scheduled to play Georgia in the first game of the nine-team double elimination event July 27. "For the last three or four months, we've told them defense wins championships,'' Kolasa said. "Nothing is going to change. We always talk about focusing on fundamentals. Stick with basics. That seems to dial them in pretty good.'' Anyone wishing to make a last-minute con- tribution to the team before they leave on July 25 can contact the Hope Mills Youth Association via its Facebook page. L to R: Coach Jonathan Ransom, Hunter Matthews, Dallas Lupo, Colby Cox, Tanner Parrish, Joshua Ransom, Colt Burns, Landon Lusignan, Gavin Bowen, Coach Joshua Lusignan, Noah Rivera, Coach Jesse Cox, Ziriyon Campbell, Aiden Peterson-McAlexander, Corey Cox and Coach Jonathan Lupo Adults: Head coach Doren Kolasa, assistant coaches Brandon Boone and Mike Johnson Players: Haylee Lamb, Lizzie Johnson, Dania Berry, August Kebort, Olivia Herron, McKinley Kolasa, Meadow Critchfield, Jazelle Young, DeeDee Rivera, Kenzie Smith, Jaycee Parnell, Zee Owens

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