- Last Updated on 07:11 AM 08/02/13
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
The South Boston American O-Zone all-stars are riding a wave of momentum as they head to the Dixie Youth Baseball O-Zone World Series.
South Boston plays Georgia today in its World Series opener being played in Laurel, Mississippi.
South Boston Manager Monty Lowery and his coaching staff knew the team had talent but needed to mesh together, much like any all-star team has to do in order to be successful.
The sum of the team’s talent is greater than any individual part, he explained.
“We knew we had the talent but were trying to get everybody in a position to compete,” said Lowery, adding the team has gotten progressively better during the district and state tournaments.
South Boston had to fight its way through a competitive district tournament against South Boston National and Scottsburg in order to play in the state, and needed one extra game to defeat Christiansburg for the state title.
“They fought hard through the district here and faced some great teams and great competition,” recalled Lowery.
“It was neck and neck, and it could have gone either way with any of the three teams, but they fought hard, and we prevailed at the end.”
Lowery described the team as fundamentally sound and mentally tough with solid defense, pitching and speed.
“You may have one of them struggling here and there, but the other boys come in and pick him up, and the next thing you know he’s right back in there,” explained Lowery.
“We stress fundamentals at each practice,” Lowery pointed out.
“We spent hours and hours here (at the Day Complex), and the confidence level has just been boosted.”
The World Series appearance will be the first for each member of the team, and the key to success will be a confident approach to everything they do on the field, according to Lowery.
“One thing we’ve really focused on is spending just as much time preparing them mentally as we do physically,” he said.
“They are mentally prepared and mentally tough, and I think that’s just as important as their ability.
“We knew they have talent, and we tried to instill confidence in them.”
“They have grit.” Lowery continued, and “it’s been a step-by-step process.
“When we first started we were rough around the edges, and we had to work the kinks out, getting them adjusted to different positions.
“We put the kids in positions where they would benefit the team the best.
“They accepted their positions and have done well, and I can’t be anything but pleased with them.”