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In their second all-star season, this year’s Minor League 10-Year-Old All-Star team should be better prepared as they head into the district tournament today at Clear Creek Park.
Troy Kuhl, who coached this team last year when it played as 9-year-olds, said he has seen improvement.
“It’s not exactly the same team, but pretty close,” he said. “And they’ve improved big time. They’ve been together longer, they’ve gotten used to each other, and they’re maturing. This is definitely a better team than last year.”
Kuhl said the team’s offense shouldn’t have trouble, but defense will be the key.
“We have some speed and some pretty good hitters,” he said. “If we play a little defense, I think we’ll be OK. That’s going to be the key for us. We’re just looking for consistency – make the routine plays on fly balls, backhanding grounders in the infield. We want the kids to be aggressive and make plays we know they’re capable of making.”
Though the squad finished runner-up to Scott County in the district last year, Kuhl said that’s not a point of emphasis this year.
“We haven’t really talked about that,” he said. “Last year was a learning experience for the kids, the coaches and the parents. I think the team is better for it this year, and they’ve improved a lot, so we’re not going to worry about what happened last year.”
Shelbyville opens up with Spencer County at 8 tonight and could have a rematch with Scott County in the second round. If both teams win, they would play at 6 p.m. Thursday, or if both lose, they would play Thursday at 8.
The championship game for the four-team, double-elimination tournament will be Saturday at 2 p.m., and again at 4 p.m., if necessary.
His team scored just two runs in a 11-2 loss in last year's championship game, but Kuhl said the offense looks good this year.
“I think we have the potential to be a good unit,” he said. “We need to use our speed, and I think we can hit just about anybody.”
Kuhl also noted that the team has a solid pitching staff.
“They’re pretty good, and we have some guys that can throw hard,” he said. “As long as we can be consistent in and around the strike zone, they’ll be fine.”
Minor League 10-Year-Old All-stars
Head coach: Troy Kuhl