The Columbia County Recreation Department National League All-star team dominated the Dixie Boys state tournament last week in Forsyth, winning five straight games to earn a berth in the Dixie Boys World Series.
The World Series for the Dixie League 13-14 age division begins Saturday and runs through Aug. 8 in Euless, Texas. The double-elimination format features 11 teams.
Columbia County faces the host team from Euless in first-round play Saturday. The winner of that contest takes on the North Carolina-Arkansas winner in second-round action.
Chances are, Columbia County won't be intimidated by the World Series hoopla - most of the current players were part of the all-star team which became the first county squad to win a Dixie Youth World Series title two summers ago.
And, the impressive performance at the state tournament should be a confidence booster - Columbia County outscored its opponents 58-15, and when the Valdosta Boys Club issued a challenge in the championship game, Columbia County responded by swatting six home runs during a 10-9 victory.
In all, Columbia County recorded 13 home runs in Forsyth. Rich Poythress led the barrage with four homers, Shawn Ward hit three, Erik Smith had two, Josh Grant went deep twice in the title game, while Chris Johnson and Hank McCladdie had one home run apiece.
On the mound, Josh Brodhecker picked up two wins and a save, Felix Chinea struck out 10 to earn a victory in game three, and McCladdie was the winning pitcher in the second game and closed with a win in the state-title clincher.
In Texas, Team Georgia will attempt to capture a third Dixie Boys World Series crown for Columbia County. Recreation department all-stars also earned Dixie Boys titles in 1992 and '98.
Dixie Boys State Tournament - Forsyth, Ga.
Columbia County results
Columbia County 15, Lamar County 1. Winning pitcher: Josh Brodhecker. Leading hitters: Shawn Ward 4-5; Rich Poythress 3-5; Chris Johnson 2-3. Home runs: Ward (2), Poythress (2). Doubles: Ward, Poythress, Hank McCladdie.
Columbia County 13, Lee County 2. Winning pitcher: Hank McCladdie. Leading hitters: Chris Banker 3-4; Paul Bordon 3-4; Hank McCladdie 3-4. Home runs: Erik Smith, Rich Poythress. Doubles: Cory Hillman, Banker.
Columbia County 5, Valdosta 2. Winning pitcher: Felix Chinea. Leading hitters: Paul Bordon 2-4; Shawn Ward 2-4. Doubles: Bordon.
Columbia County 15, Lee County 1. Winning pitcher: Josh Brodhecker. Leading hitters: Paul Bordon 3-4; Erik Smith 2-3; Shawn Ward 2-2; Cory Hillman 2-4. Home runs: Rich Poythress. Doubles: Smith, Ward.
Championship Game - Columbia County 10, Valdosta 9. Winning pitcher: Hank McCladdie. Leading hitters: Josh Grant 2-4; Chris Johnson 2-4,; Shawn Ward 3-5; Cory Hillman 3-4; Paul Bordon 3-5. Home runs: Grant (2), Ward, Johnson, Erik Smith, McCladdie. Doubles: Chris Banker.
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