Brewton 15s coach hopes third time a charm
Published 3:05 am Monday, June 26, 2006
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
If Brewton Babe Ruth 15-year-old All-Stars coach John Nelson and his team are looking for a motto for the upcoming district tournament, it would probably be “a mission of unfinished business.”
Nelson has guided Brewton teams to back-to-back district championships in each of the last two seasons, last season with the 15-year-olds and two years ago with the 14-year-olds. Both times Nelson was unable to get his team past the next step, the area tournament, and on to the state tournament.
Reaching the state tournament this year is much easier in one aspect because the area tournament has been eliminated. District champions will now go directly to the state tournament.
The upcoming district tournament will mark the start of Nelson's sixth year of all-star coaching experience. Nelson has been an all-star coach in all three years of coaching at the Babe Ruth level. He also coached in all-star competition in three of the four years he was involved with Little League.
Nelson had planned to come back and coach Babe Ruth baseball this season when son Aaron apparently had graduated from the program last summer. Aaron Nelson was one of three members of last season's Brewton 15-year-old all-star team that got an extra year of eligibility when the birth date cutoff was pushed back a couple of months. James Hamric and Tyler Brown also got to come back for an extra year.
Nelson said while the return of Aaron Nelson, Hamric and Brown was a plus for his team, he was unsure what kind of effect it had for his upcoming district opponents.
Nelson thinks the squad he has this year is his best chance for a deep postseason advancement.
Brewton's pitching will be anchored by righthanders Hamric, John Mathieu, William Shell, Corey Williams, Justin Payne, Sam Sharpe and Taylor Berry. The lone lefthander is Brown.
Nelson also likes his offensive attack that includes the top six hitters from the Brewton Babe Ruth regular season. That list includes Williams at .611, Houston Simmons at .561, Aaron Nelson at .515, Mathieu at .486, Brown at .441 and Sam Sharpe at .410.
Brewton will face Evergreen in the opening round of district play at Monroeville. The tournament is tentatively slated to begin July 3. Game times for the tournament have not been announced.