RAINSVILLE — There was no shortage of runs for the Rainsville 7-8 year old all-stars at the Dixie Youth Baseball District 8 Tournament, and the end result was a trip to the state tournament.
Rainsville finished the district tournament with a 5-1 record scoring 102 runs in 18 innings. All five games they won ended by run rule, including against the host team Glencoe.
Now, Rainsville will be headed to Prattville today for the state tournament where they will play Holtville at 5:30 p.m.
This will be the first time a 7-8 team from Rainsville has advanced to the state tournament. Head coach Chris Hampton said it will be a special experience for his team.
“This is a once in a lifetime experience for them,” Hampton said. “They’re just worried about having fun, and I don’t think they truly understand it yet — but they will and it will be something they won’t ever forget.”
Players on the team are Creek Johnson, Jay Williams, Brayden Lingerfelt, Eli Sampson, Riley Brannister, Grant Hampton, Ben Brown, Logan Payne, Owen hope, Cooper Cox, Camden Horton and Micah Dukes. The team is coached by Bubba Johnson, David Sampson, Kevin Payne and Hampton is the head coach.
The team is a combination of two teams from Rainsville, all of the players are from Rainsville. Some teams combine players from other communities.
Hampton said their familiarity with one another is a big reason for their success.
“The boys just play well together,” Hampton said. “All of them are from Rainsville so they are all close and they’ve been playing together for three years. They are a great group of boys with a lot of talent. They just play really well together and can hit the ball. We’re more of an offensive team.”
Over the years Rainsville has developed a nice baseball culture. While this is the first 7-8 team to make the state tournament, other teams from Rainsville have went in years past.
Also, Plainview has built a reputation as a strong baseball program across the state in high school baseball. A lot of that success begins in the youth leagues.
“Rainsville takes tremendous pride in baseball,” Hampton said. “We strive to teach the kids fundamentals at a young age and the proper way to play baseball, and it shows itself as they get older.”
The team will travel to Prattville on Friday for the opening ceremonies of the tournament and then play Holtville later in the day.
Hampton said he’s not going into it with a lot of expectations because the team will be in unchartered waters.
“I try not to have any expectations for something like this because this is all new to us,” Hampton said. “None of the coaches have been to state before and none of the boys. So we are just taking it inning by inning and game by game. The boys have the potential to do real well. I want them to play well and do their best, but we don’t really have a lot of expectations.”