Morgan County’s North Park will play host to the Dixie Youth Baseball Alabama AAA State Tournament. The tournament will kick off at 1 p.m. Friday with an opening ceremony at Priceville High’s gymnasium.

The Morgan County 10U All-Stars will serve as the hosts for the tournament. As the hosts, the team received an automatic bid while other teams had to qualify.

Morgan County prepared for the upcoming tournament by playing in some tournaments to get ready. So far, the coaches have seen the kids become friends and learn more about the sport.

“We can’t wait to play,” Morgan County 10U All-Stars coach Clay Martin said. “Even if we don’t win a game, it’s been worth it, because we’ve been able to play more baseball.”

The tournament features a 16-team, double-elimination bracket with the first round of games starting Friday at 3 p.m. Morgan County’s team and Hartselle’s team will both play at 3 p.m against different opponents.

The Morgan County team is made up of 12 players and three coaches.

Elijah Martin, Dayton Wilson, Logan Paseur, Dane Homan, Marc Rychetsky, Jose Catana, Aaron Shipley, Memphis Whitaker, Conner Newton, Carter Davis, Casen Drawbaugh and Braydon Watkins round out the roster. Clay Martin, Doug Homan and Keith Shipley make up the coaching staff.

“It’s very fun. We get to see more people and make friends with other teams,” Dayton Wilson said. “I like meeting everyone and playing with my friends and everyone else.”

Players from Brindlee Mountain, Lacey’s Spring and Priceville are featured. The coaching staff was selected from coaches who coached one of the seven rec league teams that the players were chosen from. All three have sons on the team.

Doug Homan’s son is playing his first year of All-Stars. He’s already enjoyed the experience so far.

“Getting to work with the kids and help make them better as far as baseball and little people is a good experience,” Homan said. “They learn teamwork. They have to put out their best or they let down their teammates.”

Hosting the tournament has been a blessing for the Morgan County All-Star team. Normally, an All-Star team would have to figure out the logistics of playing in a tournament in another part of the state. That includes money for travel, food and hotels so that the players can be there for multiple days. The Morgan County All-Stars are excited about being able to play against the top competition in their backyard.

“The past couple of years, we’ve had to drive hours to get to a game,” Martin said. “Now it’s a short drive. We don’t have to fundraise is a big thing. It usually costs a lot of money. Getting there costs a lot of money. This year has been really easy.”

Tournament play will last until the championship game Tuesday. If a team loses in the first round, it will have to win two games Saturday to make it Sunday. A team is guaranteed at least two games in the tournament.

—matthew.speakman@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2460. Twitter @DD_MSpeakman.

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