Russell Junior All-Stars all set



Normally a direct ticket to the state tournament is a coveted possession, but the Russell- Flatwoods Junior League All-Stars are somewhat of a mystery as a result.

Because of no other District 6 competition, Russell was a lock in the state bracket. The All-Stars will travel to Warren East High School in Bowling Green to begin play on Saturday, July 15.

Russell’s first game will be against Warren East.

Russell manager Bunk Conley said the team has a dozen or more practices under its collective belt. The 13- to 14-year-old players either competed in the Russell-Flatwoods Senior League or for Russell Middle School this spring before earning All-Star selections.

“The kids are working really hard and putting in the time and effort,” Conley said. “We want to go out and represent Russell the best way we can.”

Landon Conley, Joshua Dinger, Travis Arthur, Will Van Beneden, Tallon Roark, Brayden Hartman, Noah Worthington, Jayden Price, Bryan Riggs and Austin Parsons comprise the team.

Conley will look to Van Beneden as the top arm. Price, Arthur and Landon Conley, Bunk’s son, will also likely foot the rubber during the double-elimination event. All are right-handers.

With the exception of the younger Conley, a switch-hitter, Russell consists of only righthanded batters.

“We’ve got some good pitching,” said the manager. “Our pitching will probably give us the best chance we have. ... We’re not really power hitters. We’re base-hitters. And hopefully the defense is good. You just won’t know until you get out there.”

Based on his observations in practice, Conley is pleased with the glovework his bunch has exhibited.

“We should have a good infield and a solid catcher,” he added.

Van Beneden, Arthur and Conley all turned in successful middle school seasons, according to Bunk Conley.

Conley said local businesses have contributed greatly to Russell’s cause, financially, but the All-Stars are still working to raise money for the trip. They’ll hold a car wash at O’Reilly’s from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday in Flatwoods.

“They’re pumped up,” Conley said of next week’s opportunity. “It’s a really good group of kids. ... They’re representing Russell and will be on their best behavior, (and they’ll) give 110 percent once they get out there and just have fun.”

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