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La Vernia All-Stars give heart and soul to the game

La Vernia All-Stars give heart and soul to the game
La Vernia’s 9-year-old All-Star Team is the 2011 West Zone champion. Team members are Tyler Tomlin, Luke Lytle, Zach Hubert, Aiden Adams, Hunter Homeyer, Walker Ring, Jimmy Elrod, Nolan Henkes, Joshua Ruiz, Cook Harvey, and Braden Carlson. The head coach is Jeff Homeyer and assistant coaches are Ray Adams and Jay Carlson. The 9-year-old All-Star Baseball Team brought home the West Zone banner June 25 after defeating the New Braunfels Blue Team 16-13 during the final championship game in La Vernia.

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July 13, 2011
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La Vernia’s 9-year-olds AllStar baseball team took home the West Zone banner after defeating the New Braunfels Blue Team 16-13 during the championship game June 25 in La Vernia. The team from La Vernia then went on to play Hallettsville in the East versus West championship in Lockhart June 26, and took home yet another win by the final score of 15-13. The final game was played June 27 in La Vernia against Hallettsville with the winner of this game reigning as champion for 2011.

La Vernia finished the season as the West Zone champions, but Hallettsville won the final game by the score of 17-11. The La Vernia boys played hard and refused to give up. They fought hard until the very end. La Vernia started its initial series June 17, and played for 10 days -- battling each night to stay alive in the tournament.

Once La Vernia won the West Zone title, the team faced Hallettsville in the district championship. Hallettsville came into the series undefeated, and, according to Little League rules, La Vernia’s loss from the previous tournament carried over to the championship series.

Since each series is a double elimination setup, the team that loses twice is eliminated. La Vernia won its first game against the Hallettsville All-Stars, giving each team one loss, and it put everything on the line for the final game.

It was with a heavy heart that La Vernia entered into the final game. Due to the way the bracket was set up within the West Zone, La Vernia played nonstop for 10 days, which worked against the boys in the end. As stated in the rules set forth by the Little League, each child that pitches over 75 balls in a game is put on a four-day rest. Since La Vernia acquired the loss in the initial tournament, each night was potentially to be their “last.”

The team honestly didn’t think it had much of a chance against the infamous Hallettsville team and went to Lockhart with its last regular pitcher and two alternates. In pure amazement to some, La Vernia held them, and bought one more game.

Head Coach Jeff Homeyer held a meeting after the win and asked the players if they wanted to forfeit, considering the team was entering the final game with “no pitchers.” Both the parents and the boys agreed they would play with what they had, and if they lost, it would be because they were out-performed -- not because they gave up. The coach took off his hat and smiled, looked at the kids, and said, “The team that just won’t quit ... see you boys tomorrow.”

The boys from La Vernia showed up, played their hearts out, and three boys who had never thrown in a tournament stood atop the pitcher’s mound. They were defeated, but not beaten.

The fine young men on this team learned more in a baseball game than most learn in a lifetime. They learned about character, heart, teamwork, and pride -- but most of all, they learned you don’t always have to win to be the hero.

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