How does it work to bring together top players from almost every high school in northeastern Louisiana, mix in some other top talent outside the region and try to go after the Dixie Majors World Series championship?
Monroe coach Jay Culver is about to find out.
Culver, along with assistants Cade Dowen and TJ Weed lead the Monroe 19U Dixie Majors into one of the final tune-up games of the season on Monday at 6:30 p.m. D-Bat of Monroe. The teams will play at Embanato Field in Monroe. Admission is $5.
The game will go a long way toward telling teams where they are prior to the state tournament. The 2015 Dixie Majors state tournament begins July 11 in Independence, Louisiana.
Both teams are ripe with high school talent from across the region. Jonah Kennedy (Riverfield), Dylan Rideway (Downsville Charter), Willie Ward (Neville), Kyle Barefield (Mangham), and Payne Cummings (Neville) play for D-Bat.
Monroe 19U is 15-3 on the season and features Thomas Nicholson, Will Ryan and Dixon Houston of Neville; Jordan Antley, Cody Street and Joseph Tassin of West Ouachita; Chase Cockrell of Oak Grove; Wesley Drake of Claiborne Christian; Grant Shepherd of Ouachita Christian; Caleb Lasyone of Georgetown; Ethan Daily and Hunter Johnson of Ouachita; Austin Diel of Forest; Stihl Smith of Caldwell; Branson Woodward of Benton; Chase Spatafora and Landry Newsom of Union Parish; Caleb Wison of Glenbrook (Mississippi).
Culver has had one of his biggest tasks in getting the all-star cast to mesh into cohesive unit.
“We talk about (playing together as a team) all the time,” Culver said. “All these guys are three- or four-hole hitters at their high school then they come together on this team. This is the time of year it is time to go with your top 11 or 12 guys and they understand that. We don’t have a problem with playing time or anything like that.”
Culver hopes the energy level picks up for his guys prior to the state tournament.
“I don’t think we are competing as well as we could right now,” Culver said. “We have a really good team. We just have to be concerned about competing as a team and not as individuals.”
Connect with Cody on Twitter @cfutrellTNS or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org