Russellville 8U boys place fifth in statePublished 1:38pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014
By Matt Wilson
For the FCT
The Russellville 7 and 8 year old Rookie All-Stars finished fifth in the State Tournament July 5-9 in Muscle Shoals to cap off one of the most successful runs for a Russellville team of that age group.
Head coach Shane Lawler said this was the best team he had ever coached.
“These boys were some of the best kids I have ever been around,” Lawler said.
“They are great boys and wonderful athletes.”
The fifth place finish in the state tournament came on the heels of a dominant performance during the district tournament. The Russellville Rookie All-Stars won the tournament outright behind great hitting and fielding, according to Lawler.
“That tournament showed our boys what they could really do,” Lawler said.
“I knew we had a great team of kids and that tournament just showed it.”
Russellville won each game by double digits and moved on to the state tournament with high hopes and encouraged expectations.
“I knew we had a good team after the district tournament, but I knew we were going to be facing some tough teams from some bigger areas,” Lawler said.
“I tried to get them back down to Earth after that tournament.
“I think I was more nervous than they were in that first game because I had to pitch and I just wanted everyone to play as well as I knew they could.”
Russellville went on to beat an “extremely tough team” from East Montgomery, according to Lawler, and a team from Brooks School in Killen that Russellville had beaten once before in the District tournament.
“We beat that team from East Montgomery and the boys made me really proud,” Lawler said.
“They pulled out a good win. The win against Brooks came from all the boys flying high after winning the game against East Montgomery. They played great.”
Russellville’s All-Star season came to a tough close as the team lost what Lawler said could only be described as a “heartbreaker.”
After leading 10-9 going into the last inning, Russellville was unable to hold onto the lead as Enterprise was able to get a couple of base runners and bring them around to win in dramatic fashion, 11-10.
“I’m really proud of the boys and everything that they’ve been able to do this year,” Lawler said.
“They have really worked hard and played hard and I hope they have enjoyed themselves—something I always stress.”