The Russell County 8U baseball all-stars have already enjoyed a successful season, and they aren’t finished yet.
The team won a tournament in Wayne County and also went undefeated in the Adair County All-Star Jamboree earlier this summer.
Coach Matt Hopper attributes his team’s success in large part to its biggest strength: teamwork.
“A lot of them have grown up together from playing T-ball with each other since they were 3 or 4 years old,” said Hopper’s wife, Jessie. “Even if they go to different schools, they have got to meet up with each other on the ball field … This year, you could tell that they are really starting to learn each other and have enjoyed progressing together and working together.”
Jessie added that she and the other parents have noticed how this familiarity has led to a strong showing out in the field, displaying impressive glove work and playing as a cohesive unit.
“This past year, they have really matured,” Jessie said, “and they are learning each other’s strengths and trusting each other more and more, which has really made them a great defensive team … You can really see a difference this year, with their confidence and everything with each other.”
Russell County will host its own tournament on July 16 at Russell Springs City Park. The teams competing are: Adair County, Corbin, Pulaski County, Monroe County, Cumberland County, and Russell County.
Win or lose, Coach Hopper said the main goal will always be about more than just becoming better on the field.
“We want them to learn more than just baseball,” he said. “We want them to learn to be good teammates, good friends, try their best, how to work hard, and to never give up. And I think we have that with this group of boys!”
The 8U roster includes:
• Hudson Hopper
• Zeke Loper
• Declan Ellis
• Nathan Propes
• Jordun Ramirez
• Alejandro Sanchez
• Knox Branscum
• Liam Boreing
• Chase Robertson
• Boston Coffey
• Tucker Durham
The team is coached by Hopper, Tom Ellis, and Matt Loper.