Columbia County's Dixie Boys baseball team is headed to the World Series for a third consecutive season after winning the state tournament in Statham.
Columbia County won the World Series two years ago as 12-year-olds. The team lost to South Carolina last season.
But its coaches feel they have another good shot this year. The team will open with Newton County on Aug. 2 in Covington.
"It's nothing new to the boys," Columbia County coach Chris Price said. "We've been there. Mainly the pressure's on everybody else."
Price and fellow coach Ben Dukes said their team would need to cut back on its errors. Columbia County was down 8-1 to Troup County in the state championship game before a 12-run inning bailed themselves out.
"We feel like we got a chance," Dukes said. "We got to play defense. We got to pitch and keep throwing strikes. We did that well in the state."
Dukes said defending champion South Carolina was bringing back the same team that beat the rest last year. He sounded eager for the rematch.
"I'd like to get a hold of them -- see how good they actually are," he said.
Other Columbia County recreation teams will also be competing at the national level.
The County's Dixie Youth O-Zone team will travel to compete in the World Series in Pascagoula, Miss., held July 26-31.
A side note to today's story about Evans High School graduate Forrest Griffin, who won the light heavyweight title in UFC 86 on July 5: His opponent, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, was arrested July 15 in Newport Beach, Calif., and charged with reckless driving, felony evading and hit and run.
His vehicle was a customized 2008 Ford F-250 pickup with camouflage paint and giant self-portraits adorning each side.
According to a synopsis posted on the Costa Mesa (Calif.) Police Department's Web site, Jackson was weaving through traffic and talking on his cell phone. He then ignored an officer trying to stop him and continued to weave through traffic.
Police say Jackson lost control of the truck and drove onto a sidewalk, causing pedestrians to "flee for their lives." One of Jackson's tires shredded, he ran more red lights and caused more pedestrians to "flee in terror."
After Jackson's vehicle finally came to a stop, he was apprehended at gunpoint.
He was later released after posting $25,000 bail.
Pictures of the apprehension were posted on a UFC message board by someone who claimed to see the ordeal unfold from across the street.
Griffin beat Jackson by unanimous decision. A rematch was mentioned immediately following the bout, but Jackson's subsequent arrest and medical suspensions could cloud the process.
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