Local summer league team poised for potential championship run

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 16, 2016

Two years ago, the Dixie Youth Vidalia Pre-Majors All-Stars team came up with perhaps just the right amount of magic en route to claiming state championship honors.

The all-stars squad is hopeful to once again brew up a winning formula.

The Purple Sox are in DeRidder, La., and ready to take on the state’s best with their first challenge coming at 11:30 a.m. today against the Winnsboro All-Stars.

Email newsletter signup

“We’ve got players from all around the Miss-Lou,” Vidalia coach Greg Naquin said. “(The team) is coming together.”

Naquin’s squad is one of 14 teams set to participate in the tournament.

“We feel pretty good about our chances, but we have not seen any other teams,” Naquin said. “We came into the state tournament two years ago, and we didn’t know what we had and ended up winning it. With baseball, you just never know.”

Naquin said one of the challenges of an all-star team is the unfamiliarity with each other. The Purple Sox head man said his squad is more than up for the challenge.

“In high-school ball, it’s more like a family; you get to play with those guys a lot longer,” Naquin said. “In summer ball, you have to get your mindset as playing as a team. You might be friends with someone, but you haven’t played with each other.”

Christian Day, a standout on the Sox’s roster, said his squad will make the adjustment flawlessly.

“I played with some of these guys last year, so we just got a little closer and the new ones we just bonded like brothers,” Day said.

Naquin said his team’s strength lies in its dearth of capable pitchers.

“We’ve got five or six that can compete,” he said. “We’ve had good pitching before, but not as much quality depth. Whether that’s going to come through or not, we don’t know; it’s baseball.”

If the Purple Sox win their opener, they will play again at 7 p.m. Saturday night.

“We have a good chance of winning state,” Day said. “We won it two years ago, and we have a better team now than we had then.”