Enterprise’s 7U Dixie Youth coach pitch baseball team made a quick business trip to Texarkana, Ark. from July 22-25 and came home with the city’s first Dixie Youth World Series championship win in Enterprise history.
The young team went 7-0 in the 10-team tournament with wins over four Louisiana teams, two Texas teams and one team from Mississippi. Outscoring their opponents a staggering 87-19, head coach Steven Bryant said they “showed up and showed out.”
“They did all of the little things correctly to make the big impact. I have never seen them as focused or smooth as a team. They did whatever we asked them to do, and they did it to the best of their ability,” he said. “The boys were ecstatic. Nobody knew that we would be here when we started back in February, and we ended up winning the World Series. It’s pretty amazing.”
The boys cruised through their first five games with wins against Hattiesburg, Miss. 13-3, Sabine, La. 14-6, West Monroe, La. 18-3, Sulphur Springs, Texas 16-1 and Shreveport, La. 14-3, but a tight match against Ruston, La. in the semi-finals threatened to end their journey one game short of the championship.
Ahead 1-0 in the last inning with Ruston runners on first and second and just one out, Enterprise first baseman Kooper Thomas snagged a line drive out of the air and tagged first for a double play, ending the game and sending the team to a championship faceoff against Panola, Texas.
“Anybody that knows baseball knows that a 1-0 score in 7U baseball is unheard of,” Bryant said.
Up 10-3 in the last inning of the championship match, Enterprise’s Thomas came in clutch again and hit a triple followed by two infield singles from Carson Bryant and John Wyatt McCrea to load the bases with one out. Because of a rule that allows teams to score just seven runs in an inning, Colson Salter stepped up to the plate representing the winning point, and he delivered.
“All we had to do was hit it to the outfield, and Colson hit it over their heads. It was amazing,” Bryant recalled.
Hitting was no struggle for a team that ended the tournament with a team batting average of .518. and 87 runs scored in seven games. Individual batting averages were: Brandt Harper .400; Ayden Owens .578; Rhett Poitevint .444; Kooper Thomas .588; Cade O’Brien .500; Carson Bryant .529; John Wyatt McCrea .562; Colson Salter .562; Landon Brunson .500; Connor Whitley .461; Liam Allen .692; and Hudson Baldwin .500.
“We hit well as a team and played tight defense. The coaches did an excellent job with their specialty areas, and that put the boys in the best position to win,” he said. “It really was a team effort from the players, coaches and parents.”
One aspect of this team that won’t show up in stats or scores is the level of sportsmanship they consistently displayed throughout the four-day event and their resiliency despite sweltering temperatures.
“We had a lot of teams that were very supportive of us, saying if anybody’s gonna win it, they would like us because we had such good sportsmanship,” Bryant said. “It was extremely hot; the index was ridiculous. It was way hotter out there than it in Enterprise, and the kids had to fight through that. They showed up and played. This is something special.”
With many of the players able to return next year, the future is bright for another championship berth. Bryant said the future is even brighter for the future of Enterprise sports across the board.
“If these kids stay together, they definitely can come back and do it again,” he said. “But they’re multi-sport kids—they don’t just play baseball, they play football, they play basketball, wrestling. These are very athletic kids, and if they stay together as a team all through this there’s no telling how many championships they can win.”
In addition to being World Series champs, Enterprise was also awarded the “Around the Horn” award in a skills competition for the fastest time to throw the ball around the infield.
Bryant was especially grateful for the outpouring of support from the community and said they would not have been able to make the trek without it.
“None of this could have been made possible without our families and friends and businesses for their support through fundraising and sponsorships. This town really came together and help us out a lot,” he said. “We are grateful for the opportunity for the boys to show their abilities and accomplish something they will never forget. We knew we had a special group of boys, but now they have proven their athleticism, dedication and sportsmanship. We live in a great town, and this is their win as well.”