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Pooler Magazine

Pooler All-Stars 8U State Champs

Story by Cindy Reid • Photos by Shelia Scott

They did it again! For the second year in a row the Pooler All-Stars 8 U baseball team won the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association’s Class A/B division state championship this June with a resounding win against the Thomasville team. 

The Pooler All-Stars were state runner ups three years ago and they won the state championship last season for the first time in thirty years, but it was a whole new team, with only three returning players, who took home the state trophy this year. A true hitting machine this season, the All-Stars scored an amazing 74 runs while achieving an undefeated 5-0 record on their way to the championship game.

They stacked up wins over Port Wentworth (Chatham County), Glynn County and Lyons (Toombs County), going on to defeat the Thomasville YMCA team (Thomas County) twice, once in the semifinals 12-0 and ultimately for the championship 15-0.

Coached by rec park volunteers Tommy Gibbs, Jeremy McCallum, Scott Huntley and David McMurra, this years team consisted of Andrew Acel, Liam Coburn, Elijah Crumbley, Will Dixon, Trey Gibbs, Evan Huntley, Tucker McCallum, Cole McMurray, Jackson Self, Ryan Shawl, Donald Thomas and Anthony Walker. (Returning players from last year were Trey Gibbs, Evan Huntley and Liam Coburn). The team was led offensively by Cole McMurray and Evan Huntley, and defensively by Trey Gibbs and Tucker McCallum.

Head Coach Gibbs, who in addition to volunteer coaching with the Park Department is the Physical Education teacher at West Chatham Elementary School, said, “The kids were pumped to go back-to -back state championship. We knew we were in a good position. As soon as we had our first warm up tournament we knew. The two teams we had to beat were Vidallia and Thomasville. We outscored them both in three games, 43-1. Vidalia was the only team to score against us. “Gibbs was also the coach for last season’s historic win and says, “The team worked very hard for this win,” says Gibbs, “and the second win was just as sweet!”

Gibbs also has a has a private travel team youth baseball league, “Line Drive,” which plays nine months a year. The Line Drive 9U team has been particularly successful and is ranked eighth nationally and first in statewide. Gibbs says all the travel team kids also play Pooler Recreation Department ball. He says getting the All-Star team to buy into the program, to put more than a day or two a week into it, made all the difference.

He says, “All the kids worked really hard. They get extra work in the travel program so they not only have one and a half hours a week for rec baseball practice, they have an additional two to three hours travel team practice every week. They won because they were willing to put in the time and invest themselves in the program.”

When Pooler Magazine caught up with Gibbs he was on his way, after teaching all day at West Chatham Elementary School, to the Pooler rec department for the flag football tryouts. Although he was a player all the way through college, he says he found out he was much better as a coach. He says his motivation comes from the players themselves. “When I see a kid work hard to get better and do something well, and I see it in their face and their reaction when they achieve it, that’s what is all about.” He says, “Kids bring a lot of happiness- coaching kids is my life. I basically coach around the clock!”

Next year Jeremy McCallum will be the Head Coach of the 8U All Stars and Gibbs will be coaching the 10U team. The All-Star players, with the exception of Tucker McCallum who will stay in 8 U team because he is 7 years old, will move up into the 9U and 10 U teams.  Gibbs says, “I would like to say a special thank you to Pooler Recreation Department Director Hugh Elton and Athletic Director Jeremy Greene for giving us the space and the extra time on the field to make sure we can get these results and make it possible.”

The sign up for youth baseball at the Pooler Recreation Department is in February 2020. For further information about any of the recreation department activities go to their website: