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Chester Major League All-Stars headed to state tournament

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By Travis Jenkins

It sounds funny to refer to 11 and 12-year-olds as “veterans” but that’s exactly what the Chester Major League All-Star team is.

“This group has a lot of experience. Most of the kids have been playing together for a long time,” said Alan Clack, assistant coach.

The team is headed for Greenville County today (Taylors to be specific) for the state tournament. Head Coach David Laws thinks that for a lot of reasons, this group definitely has a chance to not only compete, but excel.

“We’re strong everywhere. We’re strong on pitching and batting,” he said.

On top of that, the team has a great support system that allows players and coaches to focus on the game. Clack said the list was too long to mention everyone, but said Mike Levister, Tony Perrigon, Calvin Reynolds Sr., Will Smith, Tommy Darby, Buddy Grant and Tony Johnson were among those who have gone above-and-beyond the call of duty to help the team in one way or another. Even with talent and a lot of helping hands, Laws said the task at hand won’t be easy. Chester opens play today against Irmo, an area that typically fields strong teams at every level. There is no pool play, the tournament follows a double-elimination format and runs through next Wednesday. With every team being relatively new in terms of roster construction, Laws really hasn’t had a chance to scout any of his potential opponents. One thing working in Chester’s advantage though is the chemistry his squad already has, built through years of most of his players having already competed together.

“We’ve got seven or eight of them that have been doing travel ball together,” he said.

Chester has only had one team win state and that was in a completely different league (Dixie) more than 30 years ago. The payoff is significant if this team can. A state title win would send the team onto the southeastern regionals. A win there means a trip to Williamsport Pennsylvania for the internationally-televised Little League World Series. Laws said his players dream of that and do talk about the possibility of playing on the biggest stage. They won’t get ahead of themselves, though. They’ll take it one step at a time…like a bunch of veterans.

The team is sponsored by Randy Newman, Sam’s Home Center, Patricia Joyner, City True Value, Jeff Kerr, Chester Rotary Club, Gaston, Marion and Stubbs Attorney at Law, Carolina Electrical Resources, Winter’s Law Firm, Hamilton-Delleney-Grier-Cotton Attorneys at Law, Hy-Gloss Paint and Body Shop, Chester County Natural Gas, Sam Stone and Lowry’s Family Medicine, Chester Rental Uniforms, Law Office of Geoffry Dunn, Piedmont Auto Parts, Strickland and Keels PA, Chester Wastewater Recovery, Chester County Sheriff’s Office Foundation, RCI of South Carolina, Walmart, Poulos Law Firm,

Keven Hyatt, Reggie Feaster, K.J.’s Market, Maxie Stroud, Marvin Ware and JW Alterations. Clack said the support has been so overwhelming that the team’s expenses are covered and there is money for players to enjoy off-field activities on the trip. Wayne Alley rounds out the team’s coaching staff.