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Posted: July 14, 2011 7:11 p.m.

STATE CHAMPS!

NC's 13-under all stars capture Junior Dixie Boys state title

It’s been a while but Newton County has a state baseball champion. The 13-year old Newton County All-Star captured the Junior Dixie Boys state title Tuesday with a 23-9 win over West Georgia White in Columbus and will represent Georgia in the Dixie Boys World Series.

Newton County won its opening games 10-9 and 10-6 on Saturday and Sunday respectively in the double-elimination tournament.

"It is the work ethic," head coach Tinsley Bailey said. "These kids had two-and-a-half hours of practice every day for two weeks leading up to the tournament. They’ve worked hard to get here and we’re not done yet."

The 13-under team will represent the state at the Junior Dixie Boys World Series is in Seneca, S.C. Newton County plays Virginia at 1 p.m. July 30.

The team is made up of many of the players who finished second to Troup County at last year’s state tournament. Newton County lost the championship game a year ago 3-2.

The team consists of players D.J. Powell, Phillip Rowe, Marquell Stevens, Augustus Murray, Gray Ritchey, Jared Jones, Jake Jones, Blake Shope, Hunter Phillips, Austin Taylor, Jason Cloer, Stephen Jordan, Hunter Edmondson. Coaches Lee Banks, Jessie Johnston, Bailey guided the team to a perfect 3-0 record at the state tournament.

Newton County got it done at the plate but it was perhaps their pitching that made the difference.

"The pitching is probably the strength of our team," Bailey said. "Blake, Austin and Gray are our most dominant pitchers and we have a lot of other kids that can pitch. But this was a total team effort."

Newton County has two weeks to prepare for the Junior Dixie World series where Bailey said he feels this team will be as good as any at the tournament. They’ll play a tune up tournament next weekend before a week of practice in preparation for realizing their ultimate goal.

"I’d be disappointed (if we didn’t win)," Bailey said. "We haven’t done what we set out to do. We feel very good and we think we can win it. I think this group is playing solid enough that they can win it."

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