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Local teams prepare for state championships
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Ready or not, here they come.

Four travel baseball teams from Covington are gearing for the USSSA sub-state tournaments this weekend.

The 9 and under Georgia Wrath, 10U Covington Catch, 11U Newton Knights and 12U Newton County Tigers, each classified at the AAA level, are vying for top honors.

Each age division and classification is seeded into four different venues. The top three squads will have two pool play games (Saturday) followed by a single elimination bracket (Sunday) after completion of their respective sub-state tournament.

The winners advance to the state tournament beginning June 20, where 12 teams will compete in a double elimination tournament.

Coached by Rick Kerbow, the second-year Wrath include Brennan Carter, Dalton Cole, Dallis Forsyth, Charlie Greenich, Logan Hinson, Austin Holloway, Austin Kerbow, Brantley Proffitt, Joshua Sims and Dalton Smith.

The Wrath (33-11 overall, 19-9 class) is ranked fourth in the state coaches' poll, ninth in total points and 12th in power rating according to the USSSA rankings report.

The Wrath face seven other squads in the sub-state tournament held at Criswell Park in Monroe. It begins play against the Lions at 11:50 a.m. on Field 6, followed by a game against the Fire Ants at 1:40 p.m. on the same field.

Meanwhile, the Catch (11-14, 6-7), led by Tommy Earnest, is ranked eighth in total points, 12th in the coaches' poll and 13th in power rating.

Team members include Austin Brown, Hunter Davidson, Madison Earnest, Thomas Earnest, Joseph Evans, Chase Gilstrap, Danny League, Justin Phillips, Jerry Pike, B.J. Powell, Dawson Stegall and Chandler White.

The Catch is competing against five teams at Legion Field in Conyers for the state berth. Its first game is against the Rockdale Rhinos (23-8, 13-1) at 9 a.m. Saturday on Field 13, followed by a 12:40 p.m. game on the same field against the Georgia Elite Dawgs.

Led by coach Leroy James, the Knights (18-18, 3-12) are ranked first in the state coaches' poll, 13th in total points and 42nd in power rating.

Players include J.L. Banks, Hunter Clark, Evan House, A.J. Howard, Yorel James, Ross Kirkpatrick, Jalen Martin, Ben Moses, Casey Palmer, John Wells and Garrett Witcher.

The Knights also play at Criswell Park against 11 opponents. Two games of pool play begin at 9 a.m. Saturday on Field 3 against the Centerfield Storm (32-13, 11-5) and at 1 p.m. against the Diamond Dogs (8-4, 2-2).

The single elimination bracket is Sunday.

Coached by Sonny Jones, the Tigers (25-12, 18-10) are ranked second in the coaches' poll, third in total points and sixth in power rating.

Team members include Alex Anderson, Anthony Banks, M.J. Boykin, Drew Buckhault, Jake Jones, Blake Pike, Trey Rampy, Dalton Reagin, Hank Steele and Cody Walker.

The Tigers' first game of pool play is against the Tyrone Astros (33-10, 10-4) at 11 a.m. Saturday on Field 5 at West Walton Park in Loganville. The second game is against the Georgia Yard Dogs (6-5, 2-1) at 1 p.m., with single elimination bracket play on Sunday.

Based on team record, ranking and sub-state tournament seeding, as well as the number of teams in the tournament, all four Covington squads have a legitimate shot at securing a berth for their respective state tournament.