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8U traveling team finishes on top
Members of the 8U Merchants are, front row, from left: Bryce Crean, Luke Wells, Casey McManus, Ethan Williams, Ethan Wells and Allan Crystal. Middle row: Tyler Dennison, Blake Bell, Jayce Warren, Chase Brown and Chase Warren. Back row: coaches Carson Wells, Daniel Wells, Eddie Wells and Randy Williams. - photo by Photo provided.

The 8U Merchants, a traveling baseball team featuring local players, wrapped up the season July 24, earning a championship trophy at a tournament in Blackshear.

Coach Daniel Wells said his recently formed team had its first official practice July 5.

Just 12 days later, Wells said, the team traveled to Hazelhurst for a round robin tournament and took second place. The Merchants lost to Bacon County.

Wells said he and the other coaches, Carson Wells, Eddie Wells and Randy Williams, were proud of the squad’s performance in the first tournament, but knew the players could do better.

The coach said the athletes worked hard and endured soaring temperatures to prepare for their second and final tournament July 24 in Blackshear.

During the Randy Bass Memorial Tournament, the Merchants eliminated the Appling County team. In the winner’s bracket, the Merchants faced the same Bacon County team they lost to a week earlier. This time, however, the local squad avenged the loss and defeated Bacon County, 20-10, for the championship trophy.

"They got to exact a little revenge," Wells said. "The coaches want to thank the players and the parents for their hard work and support. We are especially grateful to Coastal Pawn, Hinesville Fence LLC, C. A. Sittle Inc. and All Custom Gutters LLC for their sponsorship. Without them, this season would not have been possible."

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