The Russell County 10U baseball all-stars begin play this week in Owensboro in the 2022 West Kentucky Cal Ripken State Tournament.
Pool play starts Wednesday for RC, and the team’s first game will be against Breckinridge County at 6 p.m.
The all-stars will also take on Barren County at 6 p.m. on Friday. How the team does in pool play will determine who and when it plays in the single-elimination tournament, which starts on Saturday.
Coach Josh Bennett said his team has been looking forward to the opportunity to get started in the state tournament.
“They’re ready to play,” he said. “They’re tired of practicing and have been working hard all summer, so they’re definitely ready.”
The team has participated in one tournament this summer and planned on participating in another showcase this past weekend that was rained out.
“We got runners-up,” Bennett said of his team’s first tournament of the summer. “We lost in the championship game to a team out of Lexington that was ranked 11th in the state. We had them beat 7-3, and [the Lexington squad] just got hot one inning. We didn’t make any mistakes; they just hit it in the right spots.
“The boys were kind of upset that we got beat because we were better than that team, but overall, we were really happy with how they did in that first tournament,” he added. “Some of these boys had never played outside of league, so it was a good experience for us.”
In all, RC played four games and batted .504 as a team. Bennett pointed to the all-stars’ hitting prowess as the team’s greatest strength.
“Everyone is hitting the ball really good right now,” he said. “Our first tournament, hitting .504, that’s pretty good … We’ve got good, strong pitchers as well.”
The tournament that was set to take place this past weekend was going to be a “big, really competitive all-star tournament” with teams from Lexington, Nicholasville, and Bowling Green, among others.
Even though they didn’t get to have this experience, Bennett said his team is ready to go for this week’s competition.
“We’ve got a great group of kids that are fun to coach,” he said. “They’re representing Russell County well.”
The team’s roster includes:
• Asher Bennett
• Rylan Long
• Lane Sprague
• Aiden Huckaby
• Kellan Wilson
• Aaron McGowen
• Lucas Bloyd
• Riggs Richardson
• Jacob Fudge
• Ben Bell
• Grider Selby
• Jaxston Tolar
The team is coached by Bennett, Jackey Wilson, and Bradley Hedges.
“I couldn’t do it without them,” Bennett added about the team’s assistant coaches.