51 years later, Baldwin team returns to World Series
The boys claimed the state title a few weeks ago, becoming the first 12U team from Baldwin to make it to the World Series since 1963.
We spoke with several members of the ’63 team at the current team’s practice Tuesday. They say their coach was all fun and games until they arrived at the series, which was played in Hueytown, Alabama that year.
“He said, ‘Let’s just get to the Dixie World Series,” says Buster Brown. “We got to the World Series, and the first thing he said was, ‘We got batting practice in two hours. I don’t want to catch anybody out of those bunks!'”
In the 51 years since then, no other 12U team from Baldwin County has made it to the World Series, until this year.
“They just have embraced the whole journey,” says head coach DeWaine Carter. “I always tell them that we’re living the dream. That’s our motto–living the dream.”
Living the dream, with the help of some of those players from the team back in ’63.
“We have a couple players–Parker Blenk and Jontavious Byner–who take lessons from a gentleman by the name of Danny Rogers,” Carter says. “Danny was on that team in 1963, so there’s a relationship there. Also my son, Jackson Carter, is kin to David Rogers (who was also on the team). That’s his great uncle.”
Crowds of thousands will be on hand this weekend, but the kids probably won’t remember much of the actual games. Of all things, Jimmy Dillard remembers the coach from Tennessee, the team that put Georgia out of the tournament that year.
“The coach had no arms,” Dillard says. “And his legs were deformed, but he got around. He would put the bat in between there and put the ball on that little nub and take infield, hit infield to his players, and I just remember sitting there in the dugout in awe of that.”
It’s a once in a lifetime experience for these kids that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
“They’ve never seen this kind of ball,” Ricky Harris, another member of the ’63 team says. “Those kinds of crowds together. They’re going to have a large time.”
The team leaves for Florence, S.C. this weekend. You can help them pay for the trip by donating to their GoFundMe account.