Payson’s 10-11-year-olds Little League All-Star manager Tony McNeeley is expecting big things from his players, mostly because of their talent and experience.
“This group is basically the same as last year’s all-star team,” he said. “And in fall ball, this team played in the Valley.”
McNeeley and Eddie Duran coached the 2009 all-star team.
The team opens pursuit of an area championship at 4 p.m., Thursday, July 1 against Blue Ridge at the Lakeside Little League field.
Rick Stockman is the assistant coach of the team.
McNeeley says he is enthusiastic about the team’s chances of winning area and district titles and advancing to state, mostly because the entire roster is athletic and there are four standout pitchers he can call upon.
They include Jake Beeler, Efrain Amaya, Tristan Stockman and Ryan Ricke.
“Those are big, strong kids who throw hard,” said McNeeley.
The general rule in Little League post-season play is the good pitching usually prevails.
Other Payson all-stars include Shadrach McNeeley, Carl Adcock, Brooks Randall, Chandler Ross, Korben White and Trae Zaborac.
The players were chosen at the conclusion of the regular season in a voting of coaches.
The 10-11-year-olds scrimmaged the 12-year-olds (LL Major Division) in a practice session on June 24. No score was kept, but coaches for both teams say they played well and the stars are primed and ready for the post season.