The 12U Dixie All-Star team coming off a state title championship is in the midst of raising about $10,000 to go to the Dixie World Series in Laurel, Miss.
The tournament is in the first week of August, and the team is confident of bringing home the championship trophy.
“We’re going to win because we’re that good,” said David Wilson. And he should know a little something. In the state tournament in Arcadia last week, he hit four home runs. That’s on top of the five he hit during the season.
People may have seen the team around town. Last week they were at the corner of Main Street and Broadway, hats displayed as drivers through the intersection filled them with donations to help the cause.
But they’ve got a long way to go. Parents of the players are busy getting players everywhere to raise money for the trip. They need about $10,000 to make the trip to Mississippi for the 12 players and three coaches. And, so far, the donation site they’ve set up has not yet reached $300.
“We’re a long way off,” Wes Harbin, Ryan’s father, said as he sat under the tent Saturday at the car wash/bake sale at Bartow Goodyear. But he, along with the other parents on hand, were confident they would get to the goal or close to it. The support has always been there. And people also know the talent on this team.
Six players on this All-Star team were on the 10U All-Star team from last year. That’s the team that lost in the World Series to South Carolina, 5-2. They had gotten there by scoring more than 10 runs in each of its previous contests. Four players have returned to the 12U All-Star team from last year. And not only do they have the talent, but they play well together.
To win the World Series title, Bartow beat Brooksville 5-3 in Arcadia on July 12. Before that, they first had to beat last year’s state champs, Bushnell. Down 5-0, manager John Marc Tamayo said they showed the confidence they could beat them. They won the game 7-6.
“We play as a team and we never give up,” Nic Tamayo said.
And he shows on the field he knows what he’s talking about. In the state finals against Brooksville with the score tied 3-3, a Brooksville runner on third tried to run home on a hit back to the pitcher. The ball was thrown to catcher Ryan Harbin, putting the Brooksville player in a rundown. Tamayo took the throw, collided with the base runner and tagged him out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, manager Tamayo told his team he didn’t need heroes, he needed line drives. Harbin responded with a single, and PJ Sloan followed that up with a home run to left.
Currently the team is scheduled to be back on the corner of Main Street and Broadway collecting funds on Wednesday and Friday. They also have a website set up where people can donate. It’s at www.gofundme.com/Bartow12u. More fundraisers will be planned soon, as the team has less than two weeks to raise the money for the trip.
There are 12 teams scheduled in the double-elimination tournament and Bartow’s first game is against Mississippi at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 3.