The Lockhart RiverRats, a traveling baseball team consisting of youth aged 12 and under, won the Hub City Challenge Championships this past weekend propelling them to the world series.
While most teams take years of experience to reach this level, the RiverRats are a new team created in 2008.
"These kids are at a level close to high school baseball," team manager Jeff Bailey said. "Most teams in their first year don't come close to winning championships."
The Lockhart squad has racked up six championships and five runner-ups since its inception. They are ranked No. 3 in the state for AAA ball and are ranked No. 1 in the state by a coaches’ poll.
This past weekend the RiverRats won 3-of-4 games to qualify for the world series held in July. On Saturday the team beat the South Carolina Hurricanes 12-3, and lost to BR Baseball 0-1. Sunday, they beat the Greenville Blast 11-1 and the South Carolina Sluggers 12-3.
Bailey attributes much of the team's success to their knowledge of baseball fundamentals and technique.
"These kids really have a love for the game of baseball because the schedule is so demanding," he said. "Being taught the fundamentals is key."
Another key to winning games, Bailey said, is the discipline RiverRats' coaches instill in their players.
"We don't tolerate throwing your glove on the ground or talking back to umpires. Win or lose you have to have a good attitude," he said. "We have a bunch of good kids and parents."