Jeremy Thompson “wasn’t really expecting” his South Lake Dixie Youth 12U All-Star team to make it very deep this season.
Expectations, though, sometimes have a way of being exceeded.
The team just returned from Freeport, where it captured the state tournament title. Now, the team will represent the state of Florida in the World Series, the first time in south Lake history that a team has made it to the Dixie Youth World Series.
“I’m extremely excited,” said Thompson, who coaches the team alongside Thom Kobylarczk and Tony Shaver. “They’ve come a long way in a short period of time. The boys have really worked hard and I think they’ve kind of shocked a lot of people.”
The All-Star team, which is comprised of the 12 best players from South Lake Dixie Youth, went 4-2 in the district tournament and finished second behind Bushnell. At the state tournament, the team went 3-0 and hit 14 home runs, defeating Bushnell, 8-5, in the decisive game.
It was a bit of revenge for the South Lake Dixie All-Stars, who lost twice to Bushnell in districts.
“Our boys played a phenomenal game that championship game in the state tournament,” Thompson said. “Brett Kelly came in and pitched a phenomenal game and we had some big home runs from a couple of kids. The boys just swung the bats really well, we pitched well and we had some phenomenal defense, so that really helped.”
Thompson is hoping that momentum carries into the World Series, which will be held in Lexington, S.C.
“I believe we’ll do pretty good,” Thompson said. “Getting through the teams that we played in district and getting through the teams that we played in state, I think we’ve got a pretty good chance.”
Opening ceremonies for the World Series begin Friday and the tournament runs through Aug. 14.
The team is reaching out to its community and businesses for financial support to help cover the expenses of the trip, which include equipment, food, lodging, uniforms and other travel expenses.
The team has received a lot of positive feedback from its community.
“There’s a lot of excitement from all around us,” Thompson said. “We’re from a little field in Groveland and everybody’s pretty excited for us. I think the community is coming together really well. It’s been a lot of fun so far.”
For information or to make a donation, contact Carmen Daniels (team mom) at 352-277-1458.