Nine days before the Babe Ruth 13-year-old state tournament, the Warren Athletic Club team didn't have a representative.
It took eight days prior to the July 13-16 state tournament in Cambridge before WAC 13-year-old all-star team manager Damion Coleman Sr. compiled players from Niles, Maplewood, Newton Falls, Warren, Lordstown and Mineral Ridge.
"I just got on the phone to some teams and asked them if they were interested in playing," Coleman said. "That's what I ended up with."
Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo
WAC 13-year-old all-star baseball manager Damion Coleman holds up the team’s state trophy.
At first, he was mad about the situation.
"I was kind of upset," Coleman said. "We didn't have the time to really put together practices like we wanted to do with them, but all in all I was happy for the simple fact that we could participate as an all-star team with the 13 year olds."
Coleman only had four practices prior to Cambridge, but it was enough in his eyes.
"Yes I did after I seen how the boys came together at practice," Coleman said. "That made me feel even better that this team came together.
"There were no egos, no big headedness - one player thinks he's better than the team. They came together as a team."
They even arrived a day early to the tournament.
"So, the kids basically hung out," assistant coach Bruce Hendryx said. "We just wanted to get together and play a little bit - not on the field, but just together. That helped that much more. They knew each other. They were having fun together. It really extended that whole process of playing ball.
"This is a group of kids that have a good time out there. They know when to get tough and get hard-nosed about ball, but they know when to have fun. I give him (Coleman) all the credit. That made a big difference."
They meshed so well that this team won the state championship by scoring 72 runs in four games. They defeated the Zanesville Americans, 18-9, to win the 13-year-old title.
The WAC team is heading to the regional tournament in Somerset/Pulaski County, Ky. - leaving early Wednesday morning.
Its first game is Friday at 3 p.m., against the winner of Thursday's Northern Indiana-Northern Illinois winner. It will take them four straight wins in this double-elimination tournament to make the Babe Ruth World Series in Washington.
"You have to prepare for that, so that's what we plan to. We're going to work as hard as we can to get there," Hendryx said.
They'll be taking 11 players down to the regional tournament, a smaller group than that went to state.
"It will be a small group, but a pretty tight-knit group," Hendryx said.
It'll be a group that will rely on more than offense that dominated the state tournament.
"We're going to step up our defense too," Coleman said. "We can hit the ball, but we have to go out there and field. We can't rely on all offense."
He'll tell his team to keep in simple in Kentucky.
"Mainly, I tell them to go have fun," Coleman said. "We know what we can do. We know how we win. Go have fun and play baseball."
This is all from a team that was formed eight days before the state tournament.
"We're so happy they meshed," Hendryx said. "That's such a big deal as you can imagine. You want to create a team as fast as you can and the kids have done a great job of really done a great job of learning each other's tendancies quickly."