The Hinesville Barracudas went 6-3 for fourth place at last week’s United States Specialty Sports Association 14U Class AA World Series in Kingsport, Tenn.
The Barracudas finished their season 28-10 overall.
“We would have liked to win it, and I felt like we had the team to win it, but we had a hiccup along the way and had to fight our way back,” Hinesville Barracudas baseball coach Chris Bell said. Bell said it was a great experience for his players. The competition was stiff — there were 19 teams in the tourney — and the heat was intense.
“It was nine games in three days in that heat,” he said. “We were in Tennessee, and we were expecting it to be a little cooler, but we didn’t get a break. It was hot, but the boys toughed it out and played well.
Bell said their hitting was a little off, but they played well defensively. He said their toughest game was against the Morse Mustangs, in which they lost, 7-6. That loss placed the Barracudas in the loser’s bracket and forced them to play two more games to get into the final four. The rainout of Thursday’s pool game also put their pitching rotation into a spin.
“The pitching rules there were eight innings in three days,” Bell said. “Some teams had a fourth day because they were able to play on Thursday. When our game got rained out on Thursday, that put everything —the whole tournament for us — into three days, and we ran out of steam with our pitching staff. We went through our pitchers relatively quick.”
Bell said the Barracudas were a bit down after the loss to the Mustangs, “but they bounced back.”
They took the next two games before losing to the Seminoles and finishing fourth. The Barracudas went 2-1 earlier in pool play
He said it was a unique experience to be in a tournament that featured eight teams from eight different states.
“And we played seven different states,” he said.
Bell added the team had something other teams were jealous of: their fan base and families.
“We must have had 50-60 folks out there, and they were great,” he said. “When the boys got a little tired, we could always rely on our fans and family. They had music playing and they were cheering and singing songs, it was really great.”
Bell said he will get a bit of a break, but his players are back in action. Most of the Hinesville Barracudas are also on the Liberty County Recreation Department’s Junior All-Star baseball team. The boys are in Bainbridge this week competing for the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association state title.
Bracket play results
Barracudas 7, Arkansas Slyders 1
Morse Mustangs 7, Barracudas 6
Barracudas 7, Haymaket Bulls Grey 6
Barracudas 4, NBC Stars 1 (8 innings)
Barracudas 13, Tri-Cities Strike Force 10
Virginia Seminoles 12, Barracudas 4