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By JOEL COLEMAN
For the Starkville Academy baseball team, the wins have come in bunches this summer. If the Volunteers, who have come out on top in eight of their 10 summer contests, can keep the victories coming this weekend, they'll have some hardware to show off for their efforts.
Starting today, the Vols are one of nine teams competing in the Golden Triangle Dizzy Dean Tournament.
SA will join area squads such as West Point, Columbus, New Hope and Caledonia in this weekend's event, all battling for the chance at a tourney championship, something that Vols head coach Neal Henry believes would be "huge" for his squad.
"We're just trying to build confidence this summer and we're doing that and our record is showing that we're doing that," said Henry. "To go out and win this tournament, that'd be great for us heading into our fall program, our spring program and the regular season."
There will be plenty of hurdles standing in SA's way on the path to winning this weekend's tournament. Aside from the local competition, Neshoba Central, Kosciusko and two schools from Louisiana (Zachary and St. Johns) are all taking part in the festivities.
Like his coach, SA player Alex Holtcamp understands what coming out on top in the tournament could mean for the Vols.
"It'd be big," said Holtcamp. "It's like preparing us for a playoff game next year. This gets us ready for stuff like that."
To win the tournament, SA will first have to win its own individual pool that is also made up of Neshoba Central, New Hope, West Point and Zachary.
The Vols begin that quest today in West Point, facing Zachary at 9 a.m. and Neshoba Central at 4:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the scene shifts to New Hope, where SA will play West Point at 11:30 a.m. and the host Trojans at 4:30 p.m.
The winner of the pool will face the winner of the pool made up of the remaining four teams in a best-of-three championship series that begins Sunday at 1 p.m. in Columbus.
While he understands the task at hand won't be easy, Henry's objective for his club this weekend is clear.
"We're going to try and win a championship," said Henry. "When you're playing for something, you always have a little more incentive to play. It'll be intense."