It was strength of character above all else that carried the Prosper 9U All Star team to a championship win at the Texas AAYBA World Series in the Silver Bracket, according to Head Coach John Washburn. The tournament took place from June 25-29, a victory the town is still reveling in.
“When you ask a bunch of nine year olds to give up a third of their summer, when other kids are in the swimming pool or playing video games, it says a whole lot about their character that they want to come out and practice in 100 degree heat,” Washburn said. “I was really impressed with them and their attitudes throughout the tournament.”
Teams travel from every corner of Texas, and in some cases, across the country and around the world to participate in the Series. Prosper’s 9U coaches hand-selected a 13-player roster in early summer tryouts, then devoted three weeks to practice before game one.
“That was our first challenge,” said Washburn. “Some of these kids had never played together and had three weeks to learn the basic stuff like plays and signals.”
Series play started in three-team pools culminating into single-elimination bracket play. The boys played seven games in total, coasting through their last four to take the Championship win.
“The Semifinal was our biggest challenge,” said Washburn. “We had already played that day and the boys were hot and tired. It was really gut-check time.”
The North Texas Tribe took an early lead in game six with a strong performance at bat. It wasn’t until the last inning when a player was hit by a wild pitch and walked to first that the rally caps came out. The All Stars tied the game with five runs in the 9th, then won in extra innings before dog piling out on the field.
“There is always that one game,” Washburn said. “It is something they’ll always remember and proved that anything can happen if you just get on base. I personally had a lot of fun coaching that game.”
Washburn says the team was reenergized after their semifinal performance and went on to take the Championship win against the NTXBC Dirtbags Navy with a final score of 12-6. All together, Prosper was represented in seven age categories. Washburn credits Prosper High School’s Head Baseball Coach Carpenter with the town’s dedication to the sport.
“He has created an atmosphere in this town that has become baseball centric and it trickles all the way down to these Little League boys,” he said. “When they put on that green and white jersey that says Prosper across the front, it really means something to them.”