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Weekend of stars
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The Newton County American All Stars (11-12 year olds) continue their quest for the title during the 2007 Major League Dixie Youth Baseball State Tournament against Albany Dixie at 6 p.m. today in Albany.

The state championship is a best-of-three series that will conclude on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the Dixie Youth World Series beginning August 6 in Madison Heights, Va.

"We're pretty pumped up right now," said Newton head coach Sonny Jones. "It's a real big deal, but we've got two more games to go."

Prior to advancing to the final round, the undefeated Newton American All Stars (5-0) sealed the deal by defeating Troup County National on Wednesday night, 6-0.

Earlier this week, Newton set several tournament records en route to winning their bracket. One such record was most consecutive innings played (22) without allowing a run. Offensively, the Newton All Stars have scored 37 runs while allowing just two in five games. Defensively, they are just as sound, having committed only four errors in five games played.

Jones acknowledged that his team has really good pitching and defense, which has led the Newton American All Stars to the championship series.

"We've got (some) pretty good eyes at the top of the order," acknowledged Jones, "and that's their job - to get on base. Every game I preach to them that you have to execute, and that's how you win these games.

"If all of them weren't playing good, then we wouldn't be (here)," added Jones.

Meanwhile, Albany Dixie (5-0) advanced to the final round by beating Wrens, 10-2. Entering today, Albany had outscored its opponents 41-13 in five games.

"I watched Albany on (Wednesday) and they play similar to how we play," noted Jones. "They have a very good team, and their pitching looked pretty good to me."

Jones is assisted by coaches Scott Walker and Bobby Wheeler.

Members of the Newton American All Stars include Cameron Boyd, Graves, Tray Hill, Jacob Jones, Tyler Manning, Cody Marlowe, Austin McCullough, Devin McDonald, Antonius Sims, Alex Smith, Cody Walker and Dalton Wheeler.

In a fit of déjà vu, Newton and Albany competed in the state championship two years ago. In addition, most of the players and coaches from the same teams will once again face each other. (Newton won, advancing to the World Series, which is exactly what it hopes to do this weekend.

For Albany Dixie, it is the first time the team has hosted a Major League DYB State Tournament since it began playing in 1982.