Reaching World Series competition is the ultimate goal for baseball players everywhere, at all levels.
Three Ruston all-star youth baseball teams have earned that right with success in their state tournaments. As a result, all are heading to the Regional World Series in their age groups, each held in Texarkana July 22-26.
The Ruston 9U Americans team and the Ruston 7U Americans team won state championships last weekend. The Ruston 6U Competitive T-Ball team finished in the top four among 16 teams qualifying for the state tournament and earned a trip to Texarkana.
Those three squads combined dropped only three games in state tournament play. The 9U team is a perfect 13-0 in district and state tournament competition.
That club has gaudy credentials. The 9U Americans went 5-0 in Tioga at the state tournament, outscoring opponents by a combined 61-12. The only close call came in the semifinals, a 6-5 victory over Shreveport, before a 10-2 triumph in the championship round over Monroe.
Head coach Steve Davison and assistants Max Causey and Patrick Ramsey have a dynamic dozen players: Grant Alexander, Bryson Bennett, Barnes Causey, Kingston Culpepper, Joseph Davison, Rhodes Kilpatrick, John Cole Parker, Grey Ramsey, Jacoby Smith, Henry Walpole, Ryder Walpole and Eli Wilson.
The 7U Americans won their state tournament at home, playing at the Ruston Sports Complex and posting a 7-1 record. They rolled into the championship round unbeaten after a 14-4 semifinal rout of West Monroe, but Shreveport forced a winner-take-all final with a 6-2 victory. Ruston rebounded to claim the crown on an 8-3 triumph.
The 7U Americans are 13-2 in district and state tojrnament play. Chris Brister is the head coach, assisted by John Brown Jr., Heath Davis, Michael Gillum and Led Terry.
The state champion team consists of Myles Brister, Granger Brown, Patrick Gillum, Luke Jeffries, Apollo Odum, Wyatt Ovitt, Cale Patton, Andy Slocum, Tripp Terry, Duncan Wade, Joshua Walker, River Walpole and Ezekiel Wilson.
In the 6U division, Ruston didn’t have two district entries and the unified squad rolled through the district and state tournaments to reach the Regional World Series. The Ruston Sports Complex was also the site of the state tourney last weekend.
The 6U squad went 5-2 in state competition, falling in the semifinals to Bossier already assured of a World Series berth.
Jimmy Shannon is the head coach with Matt Cotton, Jeremy Vining and Danny Walpole as assistants.
The 6U roster: Tristen Case, James Cotton, Jagger Ingram, Rhodes Jeffords, Turner Kilpatrick, Connor King, Paisleigh Rodrigues, Eli Shannon, Sutton Simmons, Phineus Stevens, Raleigh Vining and Hudson Walpole.