• July 23, 2014

Killeen Junior Leaguers get shot at state title

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 4:30 am, Thu Jul 18, 2013.

Clayton Hagey has recorded the Little League World Series every year.

He wanted to wear the Southwest Team jersey.

He wanted to go to Williamsport, Pa. At 14, he’s too old for that dream.

But with a few wins this weekend at the Little League Junior Boys state tournament in San Angelo, Hagey and the Killeen All-Stars might have an opportunity to showcase their talents at the Junior League World Series in Taylor, Mich. — the LLWS equivalent for players aged 12-14.

“I’ve always been a big fan of the Little League World Series, I record and watch every inning of it each year,” said Hagey, a third baseman.

Now the 13- and 14-year olds have four days to win three games to be crowned Texas State Junior League Champions.

“We think we’re going to do well at state,” said utility man Garet Douglas, 14. “We aren’t cocky, but we are pretty good this year, we also are more disciplined than the other teams, we are excited to get to play some new competition.”

Until this season, Killeen Parks and Recreation did not participate in Little League Baseball, instead opting for Texas Teen-Age baseball tournaments.

When KPR decided before this summer to switch to Little League, the decision seemed to make perfect sense. But, it was a year to late for the Killeen All-Stars.

After going undefeated at the Lorena Little League Junior Boys district tournament July 3-6, Killeen was crowned District 9 champions. From winning district, the sluggers next traveled to Abilene to compete in the sectional tournament and had convincing 19-9 and 16-6 victories against Fort Worth and Abilene,

Whether playing together or against one another, the Killeen All-Star players have formed a tight-knit friendship that leads to a lot of fun both on and off the diamond.

“After we won sectionals our coach said we deserved some down time,” said shortstop and pitcher Daniel Cole. “We got to go ride some go-carts and Friday night we had a big PlayStation baseball tournament in our hotel ... we just like hanging out with each other.”

With players attending different high schools in the fall, the state tournament could potentially be their last opportunity to play baseball with one another. While the friendship and camaraderie amongst the teammates will be missed, area baseball coaches have already began filling out their lineups for next season.

Joining Hagey at Harker Heights next season will be center fielder Justin Luedecking and Cole. Garet Douglas and pitcher Jose Hernandez will suit up for the Ellison Eagles, while first baseman Drake Mason and right fielder Burt Cruz II will play ball for the Shoemaker Grey Wolves.

“Getting experience playing talented kids from all around Texas should really help us out next season in high school,” Cole said.

Mason added: “These extra games will only help us get better for next year.”

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