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9-10-year-old all-stars gain ‘positive experience’

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By John Overby

“Who are we? WC! Who are we? WC!”

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This chant could be heard throughout Idle Hour Park after Washington County’s 9-10-year-old baseball all-stars played their final game of the district tournament this past Monday night.

WC head coach Lance Russell had gathered his team for their final meeting of the year following their 15-4 loss to Adair County, and there was only one logical way to end this occasion: the war cry that was heard often from the team’s dugout during its two-game stint in the tournament.

It was the final symbol of togetherness for a team that Russell described as “one unit.”

“Playing in a tournament like this, it builds character,” Russell said. “You just start playing as a team, playing as one instead of playing for yourself. These kids were a perfect example of that.”

But the team didn’t start out that way, though. They had to find their cohesiveness as the season went along, which, according to Russell, is even more impressive because they were only together for a few weeks.

“When we started the season, a lot of them were playing for themselves, but the more we practiced, they’ve become more of a team,” Russell said. “Just watching that — seeing them believing in themselves, believing in what they can do — means a lot.”

One of the biggest obstacles for the team was that they only had four 10-year-old players on the 12-person squad.

Russell said that the team was “really young” this year compared to some of the other teams.

But he also mentioned that this experience will only help out the players, noting that “their future is definitely bright.”

“All of these kids should be a whole lot better next year,” Russell said. “A year in baseball makes a big difference.”

With their season now over, Russell hopes that the players can look back and be pleased with the effort they put forth every single play.

Because, as he puts it, “the whole team did an excellent job of keeping their heads up. That’s something to be proud of.”

“They played hard all the way through in both games,” Russell said. “I’m really proud of them for that. Everybody contributed for us in some way. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”