Oxford welcomes 44 teams to N.C. GameOn Sports World Series
For many AAU teams around the state, a N.C. GameOn Sports World Series title is the ultimate prize of the summer.
Oxford is hosting the event for the second consecutive year, welcoming 44 teams in five different age groups (8-13) to the fields at Granville Athletic Park and Oxford Park.
Festivities kicked off Wednesday with a skills competition followed by opening ceremonies. Play begins today before the tourney wraps up on Sunday.
Head coach Shawn Freeman brought his 8-and-under Davidson County Bomb Squad team from Lexington. The orange-and-black clad squad has won eight of the nine tournaments it has entered this summer and claimed a winter World Series title in November.
“This is the culmination for the 8-year-olds,” said Freeman. “It’s the big tournament of the year. It’s the summer World Series.”
Bomb Squad members competed in the individual skills competition Wednesday. The competitions, held for each age group, included a race around the bases, an accuracy throw and a home run derby.
“It’s awesome so far,” said Freeman. “The kids enjoy the opportunity to compete in the skills competition. Even if they are only 8-years-old.”
Freeman is confident his team can win the tournament if they play their game. The 8-year-old division has 10 teams, six of which are based in Wake County.
“I don’t discount my kids,” said Freeman. “We’ve won 95 percent of the tournaments we’ve played. They’re ready.”
Teams like the 11-and-under Rebels of Roxboro aren’t quite as battle tested. Chad Vaughn’s bunch started playing together last fall and have mostly entered competitions near Person County.
“Just the baseball and the kids,” said Vaughn. “That’s really what brings us here. Wherever the sports are, that’s where we want to be.”
The Rebels are one of six teams in the 11-and-under division.
“It’s pretty much all equaled out as far as our age group,” Vaughn said of the competition. “It’s anybody’s game.”
The Rebels will compete against the Oxford Dirt Bags, one of three area teams competing in the World Series. The Oxford Wildcats are in the 12-and-under division along with the Carolina Thunder, another Oxford-based team.
Dale Edwards’ Thunder squad is an 11-and-under team, but will be competing in the 12-and-under age group. The team has posted a 36-8 record over 12 tournaments.
“Our focus is to be competitive,” said Edwards. “Even with the older, bigger boys. As long as we’re competitive. If we leave here .500, we consider that a good weekend considering we’re 11U playing 12.”
Edwards’ players hail from nine different towns and six counties.
With the AAU summer season ending Aug. 1, this is the final competition for most teams.
“It brings you a wide variety of people to see and kids to see,” said Edwards. “It lets you see different coaching styles and playing styles or how other kids play the game. It’s really neat to see a variety of competition.”
The competition starts today at 1 p.m. with the last round of games scheduled for 8 p.m.
N.C. GameOn Sports, based in Mocksville, started playing AAU tournaments in Oxford in the fall of 2009.
William Brown, assistant director for N.C. GameOn Sports, said he expects the World Series summer tournament to remain in Oxford.
“We’ve worked well with Oxford,” said Brown, a Creedmoor resident. “They’ve been a great group to work with. It’s been a real good partnership.”
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