Baseball team raises funds for tournament

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 15, 2014

By Will Stribling

 A local Vicksburg travel baseball team will get the chance to make a statement about the quality of local players next month.

The Bluejays 12-year-old United States Specialty Sports Association tournament baseball team is going to a World Series tournament July 17-20 in Gulfport. They are the only 12-year-old team in Mississippi competing in the tournament.

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The team held a car wash fundraiser June 7 at Automotive Paint Center on Clay Street to help fund the tournament entrance fee and travel expenses.

The tournament will be the second World Series for the Bluejays since 2012.

They attended the first in July 2012 in Gulf Shores, Ala.

Nathan Karol, who coached the team from its founding through last year and is now the manager of the team, said the boys on the team are eager to attend the tournament.

“(They are) very pumped and have been together since some of them were 6 years old,” he said.

This season, the Bluejays racked up 20 wins while losing just eight games against all teams in their division.

Of the three tournaments in which the Bluejays have competed this year, they won one and finished second in the other two.

In two weeks, they head to Meridian for the State Games — a statewide competition of youth athletics ranging from baseball and soccer to martial arts.

After the World Series, they will compete in the Governor’s Cup tournament held in Vicksburg, which will be their last of the season.

Karol is proud of the team, saying he is eager to see them continue to hone their talents.

“I look forward to seeing them continue to play into junior high and high school.”

The current coach of the team, Eric Douglas said it will be interesting to see how the Bluejays compare to other teams.

“(I am) very excited to see how they match up against teams from other states. Tournaments like this are always a good experience so I try to encourage them as best I can.”

Douglas emphasized the close nature of the team and parents.

“They are a really good group from the kids, to the parents which is very hard to find these days and I’m glad to be coaching them.”