The East Georgia Hurricanes have their eyes on the prize.
As the number one ranked team in USSSA's eight and under machine pitch league, this group of local little leaguers is looking towards next month's World Series tournament at Sweetwater Park with championship aspirations.
Last year, the Hurricanes finished in the middle of the pack in the tournament. But this year is different, said Coach Scott Swann.
"We were at a disadvantage last year in the state and World Series tournaments," he said. "We put our team together two weeks before the state tournament, and we were playing against teams that had been playing together for a whole year. Now, we're at the same level where our kids know each other...and the players know the coaches."
Coach Swann said that over the past year his team has come a long way, and that his players are focused on next month's tournament.
"We've been slowly bringing the kids along," he said. "(The World Series) is pretty much what we've been working on since the fall."
After the tournament, the Hurricanes will move up a level to nine and under player pitch. The Hurricanes got some work in under the new format in a recent tournament, where they came in at a surprising third.
"We did what I consider to be exceptionally well. There were six teams in the tournament, and we were the only team who had not been playing player pitch," said Coach Swann.
Coach Swann gave a lot of credit to his players, but also to their parents as well.
"One of the biggest reasons (for our success) has been the commitment of the parents. We've traveled to North Carolina, Atlanta, sometimes two weekends out of the month. The parents have devoted a lot of their time and money to it," he said.
Of course, the players deserve a lot of credit too, he said.
"It's truly a total team effort," he said. "Each kid excels in certain areas."
The USSSA eight and under Machine Pitch World Series, which will be held the week of July 13, is just one of the big events being held this summer at Sweetwater Park. On June 12 there will be the USSSA church state tournaments, while on June 24-27 will be the USSSA baseball machine pitch eight and under state tournament, as well as the 10 and under and 12 and under AA state tournaments.
Also during the week of July 13 will be the USSSA boys 10 and under and 12 and under AA national tournaments. Lastly, from July 26-August 1, the USSSA will hold its girls 10 and under A and B fast pitch world series in McDuffie County.