COVINGTON -- Even though the Newton County All-Stars didn't have to play through the tournament to earn a spot in the 2012 Dixie Boys World Series that does not mean they're not ready to win it all when play begins on Saturday at City Pond Park.
North Carolina and South Carolina along with Louisiana and Arkansas will start play at 1 p.m. with the Newton County team playing Texas at 7 p.m.
To get ready, the Newton County team played in a couple of tournaments totaling nine games as a team. The first tournament did not go well. But they came back in the second tournament to win it all.
"The first weekend we were a little iffy, then the second weekend we came on strong and actually won the tournament," said assistant coach Cory Womack. "We have about eight or nine games together and have actually grown from where we started. We're as ready as we can be for the time we've had to be together."
Newton County enters the tournament with a slight advantage of playing on a field it's very familiar with while getting to sleep in their own beds in their homes. However, don't expect them to take it all for granted.
"We'll be playing in front of our fans rather than playing in front of people we don't know. But you can't take it for granted playing at home," said Womack. "We have to come out and play ball."
While the host team has an overall strong team, according to Womack, its strength is pitching. Pitching for the Newton County All-Stars are Nick Womack, Grady Ritchey, Austin Taylor and Blake Shope.
"Those are our main four starting pitchers and they're all very strong. No pitcher will throw a whole game. We have some good relievers also," Womack said. "Overall we're a good team but pitching is our strong point. We definitely have great bats in the lineup. We're all around a good fielding team. I don't believe we have a weak spot."
Also on the team are Conner Hewell, Jacob and Jared Jones, Hunter Phillips, William Powell Jr., Philip Rowe, Marquell Stevens and Michael Terry Jr.
Even though the Newton County team has not seen Texas, it prepared the way it has for the whole tournament.
"We practice like we play. If you want to play a perfect game then you practice perfect. We pushed the boys to get them to understand that you don't practice down one day then the next day come back hard. You have to push yourself to get better," Womack said.