‘We get up when we get knocked down’: Minors set for tournament

Published 12:35 am Thursday, July 4, 2024

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They’re a veteran group, a group that’s already seen every possible scenario thrown their way. That’s how head coach Tyler Cristo sums up his Prince Edward-Farmville Minors baseball team. The all-star squad, which won the District 5 championship, is now heading to compete at the state tournament later this week. 

“We get back up when we get knocked down and continue to compete and represent our county,” Cristo said, when asked about the team’s greatest strengths. “Our pitching is very experienced and a balanced offense to counter that.”

Every year, the All-Star group is picked from a pool. There were three Prince Edward-Farmville Minors teams competing in the league this season. Cristo and his coaching staff chose 11 players out of more than 30. Already, he’s seen the team come together and develop, pointing to their 8-7 win over Nottoway as a huge step in the district tournament. 

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“Beating Nottoway 8-7, which was a District 5 Division 1 team, was the most impressive win I have ever been a part of,” Cristo said. “This group never gave up and exhausted every ounce of energy they had on that blistering hot Sunday afternoon. The grit and toughness that was showed in the District 5 Tournament was fun to watch. (And getting) to watch them get that signature win to put us in the States (tournament) was awesome.” 

One last run for Minors

And for many of these players, the phrase one last run holds true. 

“A majority of this year’s team will move up to Majors (Little League) next season,” Cristo said. “This is our last crack at the Minor League level. I enjoy coaching this group and seeing their growth and development.” 

And Cristo has seen quite a few players come through in the eight years he’s worked with the Prince Edward-Farmville teams. He’s worked with the same group for the last four years, competing in All-Stars. He’s also got plenty of experience to share, after five years as the head varsity baseball coach for Prince Edward High. Currently, he’s trying on another hat during the fall, working as head coach for Fuqua’s football program. 

But before football, there’s still plenty of game left on the baseball diamond this year. 

“The State Tournament gets tougher with a lot of great teams and players,” Cristo said. “Some teams will be bigger than we are as far as size and strength, but we will show up and compete come July 5 in Clarksville.” 

Cristo said he expects to see good pitching and hitting from all the teams. In many ways, he said having a tough league helps get players ready for the postseason. 

“It was good to see Lunenburg, Charlotte, and Buckingham though-out the season to see how we stack up against these county teams,” Cristo said. “We will compete and be ready for whatever is thrown our way. (We will) stay in the moment and focus on what we can control.” 

When will state tournament start? 

Prince Edward-Farmville will take the field in Clarksville this coming Friday, July 5. They’ll be facing off against Hopewell, with the first pitch set for 3 p.m.