Hendrix Park recently wrapped up their baseball and softball seasons which featured a record-breaking turnout as children from all over North Bryan County came out in droves to participate in America’s favorite pastime.
For the first time in Hendrix Park history, a player draft was utilized which several coaches said evened up the talent roster.
Also for the first time, there were enough players in several divisions to allow strictly in-house play which kept all the games here at home. This went for the 8 and under boys and girls and the 10 and under boys bracket.
"With all the construction going on in the area, I expect those numbers to go up," said Stella Myrick of Hendrix Park. "We will probably have more in-house divisions next year. It’s more convenient for everyone and many parents are excited about it."
The remaining divisions competed in conjunction with the Coastal Athletic Association, playing against teams from Bloomingdale, Garden City, Pooler and Port Wentworth. North Bryan players pretty well dominated each CAA bracket they participated in by taking first place, second place or both in each age and gender category.
Unlike Richmond Hill, who decide their winners in a season-end round-robin tournament, Hendrix Park and CAA winners are decided based on overall season achievement.
For the 8 and under girls in-house division, Tony Leggett’s Diamond Dolls took first place with Dennis Seger’s Dixie Chicks grabbing the number two spot.
In reflecting on the season, Coach Leggett said he is most proud of the fact that each of his girls is walking away from this season with a firm understanding of the sport.
"The thing most important thing at this level is gaining knowledge of the game - not so much if you win or lose," said Leggett. "Our first time players were hitting by the end of season. And, hey, winning came along with it this year which is great."In the 8 and under boys in-house league, BCHS varsity baseball coach Al Butler showed his talents stretch beyond the high school level as his Bulldogs took the top spot. The Lil Devils, coached by Robbie Daniels, came in second.
"I had a blast," said Butler. "After such a competitive season with the Redskins, it was fun to go out and play a part in the simplest form of baseball. It was pure heart and fun. Our goal was to practice basic fundamentals and have fun. I was fortunate enough to have a good group of boys. Every one of them could hit. The most rewarding thing was seeing them have fun and to look at these boys and think about what could be when they reach the high school level."
Butler gave a special thanks to his assistants - Brian Smith, Larry Mingledorff, Gary Cottros and Barry Gibson – who stepped up to run the team when he was handling the BCHS Redskins’ as they reached the state tournament.
The 10 and under boys in-house bracket was led by Tommy Leggett’s Dawgs with Bubba Banks’ Braves coming in second.
"This team came a long way," said Leggett. "Some of these boys had never played before but progressed greatly as we went along."
Leggett said he sees a bright future in baseball for many of his young athletes and cited third baseman Dylan Saxon, who has a "strong arm", as an example of one to watch.
Gary Walker’s Angels won first place in the CAA 10 and under girls division. They tied with the Pooler Packers and became the only teams forced to face off in a playoff game, which the Angels won 14-12.
"They gelled real good as team," said Walker. "They hit real good and fielded good enough." …11-1 season…won champ game at Hendrix 14-12…
"The division really heated up this year," added Assistant Coach Todd Godwin. "A lot more local girls came out where last year we only had one local team. A couple veterans on our team stuck out and we had six rookies who held their own as well. Gary did a great job with them and had a lot of patience. Near the end, we agreed that we had come too far to settle for a tie, so I’m glad we had the playoff game."
The 12 and under girls CAA division was won by the Garden City Eagles with Robin Butler’s Total Impact team coming in a close second place.
"I’m so proud of these girls," said Butler. "I see some strong contenders for the middle school on this team. I know BCMS is losing some strong players, but some of these girls could definitely fill those gaps."
The CAA 12 and under boys division went to the Pooler A’s while Mathew Price’s Longhorns took the second place prize.
"I had a good team and this was a good learning experience for everyone," said Price. "It was a little shaky at beginning, but there was steady improvement throughout the season. This was a solid team effort where everybody seemed to contribute at opportune times."
Price said there were some really good teams in his division which made for games that were "mostly won by 1 or 2 runs" and that their victories were "just a matter of everything clicking at the right time."
As reported last week, the 14 and under CAA title went to John Curl’s Crushers while another Hendrix Park team, Nick Rud’s Diamond Backs came in second.
Next up for Hendrix Park is the All-Star baseball and softball teams which are being formed right now.