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Newton All-Stars begin quest for World Series title
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It’s said history repeats itself. For the sake of 14 local youths and their coaches, that happens next week.

The 13-year old Newton County All-Star captured the Junior Dixie Boys state title earlier this month with a 23-9 win over West Georgia White in state tournament in Columbus and will represent Georgia in the Dixie Boys World Series. The double elimination tournament begins tomorrow at Seneca, S.C., Newton County plays its opener at 1 p.m. against Virginia.

Newton's All-Stars will try to bring a World Series championship back to Covington for the first time in 13 years. The last team to win a national Dixie Boys championship was the 1998 Dixie Minors team that captured the inaugural World Series in Hattiesburg, Miss. That team went undefeated and outscored its opponents 38-14. They defeated Tennessee 6-1 in the final.

This year’s team has the same opportunity. After winning their opening two games of the state tournament 10-9 and 10-6, they pounded West Georgia in the final to evoke a confidence that this team may be as good as that one 13 years ago.

"I’d be disappointed (if we didn’t win)," Newton coach Tinsley 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."

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 played in a tune-up tournament last weekend and has been practicing two-hours daily to prepare for what they hope will be another world championship for Covington.

"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."