Adam Markowitz is excited.
As the coach of the Hilton Head Dixie Youth Baseball AAA all stars, he knows he has a group that is as good as any in the state. Beginning this weekend, his group of 9- and 10-year-old standouts will have a chance to prove it.
Hilton Head opens play in the state tournament on Saturday in Florence, where it will battle with 12 other teams for the right to advance to the AAA World Series. Markowitz, in his second year coaching this division, believes his team is ready to go.
"The kids have a really positive outlook. They stay real loose going into each game," Markowitz said of the District 8 champions. "When they're loose and focused and ready to go, I think it makes it easier for all of us."
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Even at this age, this group of Hilton Head players comes in with some championship experience. Two years ago, several of the players were on a 8 and under squad that advanced to the World Series for Dixie machine pitch. Markowitz said what makes this group so tough to beat -- they were the only squad to go through district play undefeated -- is that they are good at hanging onto the baseball and have good depth on the mound.
"For me personally, I just like to see them play good, sound fundamental baseball," Markowitz said. "Baseball's a game of repetition."
The coach hopes his team continues to play solid, mostly error-free ball, all while mixing in a few timely swings at the plate. So what are his expectations going into Saturday's 1 p.m. opener against Aynor?
"I feel really good, actually," Markowitz said. "I think we're a really strong, competitive team. I think we can compete with anybody on any given day."
HILTON HEAD AAA ROSTER
Jace Blackshear, Jackson Philpot, James Layman, Grant Musselman, JuJu Mlodzinski, Kyle Markowitz, Jake Richardson, Jack Boyce, Eli Minton, Reymar Matos, Nick Larson, Mark Knight. Manager: Adam Markowitz; Assistant coach: Rod Musselman; Assistant coach: Reymar Matos.