A large group of 11- and 12-year olds piled on top of one another near the pitcher's mound at the conclusion of last week's Dixie Youth "O" Zone State Tournament.
The mass of tangled arms, legs and smiling faces at Riverside Park in Evans was the Georgia state championship Columbia County North All-Stars.
Now they're known as Team Georgia.
The 12 boys will represent the state at the 2007 Dixie Youth "O" Zone World Series after cruising through the state tournament last week, including a 13-3 victory over the Columbia County West All-Stars in the final game.
"It was a team effort," Columbia County North head coach Scott Klosinski said. "All week long we've been teaching them 12 plus three equals one. It's not the best math, but it works."
The formula the Columbia County North coaches preached combined 12 players with three coaches to make one team. It was Klosinski's top priority from the start.
"I felt like my biggest job was to get them to come together as a team," he said.
The boys did the rest. The team won seven games during the six-day path to the state title. Their closest victory was a 7-4 win in Game 1 of the championship series.
Their most lopsided win was a 28-0 blowout over a team from Auburn, Ga. Including the championship series, the Columbia County North squad outscored its opponents 97-10.
"That's a good team right there. An excellent team," Columbia County West Coach Jack Davis said.
Now they're a team bound for Troy, Ala. where the 2007 Dixie Youth "O" Zone World Series will take place. Team Georgia will face 11 other squads from the Southeast for a chance at the World Series title.
Unlike their competition, the Columbia County boys have an advantage. Last season's Dixie Youth "O" Zone World Series champions also came from Columbia County.
"One thing that will help is I know Jamie Dukes," Klosinski said. "His team won it last year, so I want to meet with him and get some of his recommendations."
The Dixie Youth "O" Zone World Series will begin on Saturday. Team Georgia will face Troy, the host team, in the first round at 8 p.m.
The 2007 Dixie Youth "O" Zone Columbia County North All-Stars and Georgia state champions:
Coach Scott Klosinski
Coach Dean Glover
Coach Adrian McCladdie
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