By Brian Paglia and Derrick Mahone
Today marks the beginning of the AABC Robert Clemente World Series. It also marks the 10th year that the city of McDonough has hosted the event at Richard Craig Park. Here's a look at the eight teams comprised of 7- and 8-year-olds.
Coach: Lemont Bonner
Hometown: Decatur, Ga.
Getting to know: Team was ranked as high as No. 3 in the state by USSSA baseball. Last weekend, they defeated the Georgia Yard Dogs in a 26-25 game that went six innings and last four hours. Has a deep pitching staff to go with its offensive firepower.
Elite Gamers Red
Coach: Chad Sanders
Hometown: McDonough. The Gamers play out of nearby Richard Craig Park.
Getting to know: A fundamentally sound club that can score runs. In a recent tournament, the Elite Gamers Red scored 75 runs in its first four games. Finished fourth in the USSSA World Series held in McDonough.
Coach: Steve Herbst
Hometown: Macomb, Mich., which is 45 minutes north of Detroit. It is 788 miles from their hometown to McDonough.
Getting to know: Jet Box has relied on its strong pitching and steady defense at catcher. Both have been consistent all summer. Get their name from a 42-year-old semi-pro baseball team that Coach Herbst and several other team dad are a part of.
Hometown: Puerto Rico. It is 1,547 miles from their hometown to McDonough.
Getting to know: The team's 4-hour flight into Atlanta was delayed, so the Orioles weren't able to attend the opening ceremonies.
Coach: Michael Brown
Hometown: Waterbury, Conn., which is 30 miles west of Connecticut's capital, Hartford. It is 1008 miles from their hometown to McDonough.
Getting to know: Lost first game of state tournament, but won five straight to make the North Atlantic Regional, where they went 5-0. When they score, they score in bunches. Pitching and defense has carried Overlook. Kids are split between their allegiance to the Yankees and Red Sox.
Coach: Casey Stevenson
Hometown: Farmington, N.M., which is 40 miles from the Four Corners, the only place in the U.S. where four states (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado) meet at one place. It is 1,673 miles from their hometown to McDonough.
Getting to know: Twins are built of players grabbed from four different local teams after five players couldn't make the trip. Players are fans of both Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Strong pitching got them this far.
Coach: Ric Roskopp
Hometown: Mount Clemens, Mich., which is 15 miles north of Detroit. It is 801 miles from their hometown to McDonough.
Getting to know: The Vengence have won four of the last six tournaments that they have played in. They prefer a low scoring game, because the team relies on a strong pitching staff. Have travelled to Ohio and Indiana to play, which has allowed them to see a lot of different styles of baseball.
Coach: Steve Snelbaker
Hometown: Hebron, Ky., which is 20 miles south of Cincinnati. It is 355 miles from their hometown to McDonough.
Getting to know: The Xtreme bring a 10-game winning streak into the tournament. They played several games in a higher age division throughout the season. The team has yet to lose to an eight-year-old team this season.