After winning their district and state championships, the Heat blazed through their World
Series games in Southaven, Miss., going 7-0 and outscoring their opponents 135-27. Heading into the championship game July 20, the Heat was the only undefeated team remaining.
But despite needing to win only one game to claim the championship, Hobgood fell in two straight games against the district rival Acworth Warriors.
Four Hobgood players — Bryce Bessho, Caleb Hughes, Brooks McKenna and Joe Nevle — were named to the all-tournament team.
Despite the defeat, coach Nick Bessho praised the Heat’s efforts.
“I’m extremely proud of their efforts and performance throughout the World Series,” Bessho said. “Even though we lost in the championship game, I was very proud of all the boys for not giving up and fighting hard to the very end.”
Bessho was also quick to give thanks to those who had supported the team throughout the year.
“The parents, grandparents, siblings and the parents and players from the other Hobgood All-Star teams showed great support for our team all summer,” Bessho said. “This is a great testament to the Hobgood Baseball family, and what makes playing out of Hobgood Baseball special and a great environment for our children.”
The Heat went 31-5 over the course of the summer, outscoring their opponents 626-293. Their only losses came against the same Acworth team that eventually defeated Hobgood in the World Series.
The Heat competed in seven tournaments this summer, capturing four championships and two runner-up finishes.
“We always strive to have championship teams at Hobgood,” assistant coach Matt McKenna said. “This state is very competitive, so anytime we have a team that can win the district and state at any age is a phenomenal accomplishment.”
McKenna felt the team’s unselfish nature contributed a large part to its success.
“I think they learned to win and lose as a team,” he said. “Everybody can’t be a shortstop. The reason the team was so successful was that we had 11 players and coaches that put the team first. Teams win championships, not individuals.”
Despite constantly finding success on the field, Bessho also wanted to teach his players how to do more than just win games. When asked what attributes he felt were the most important to instill in his team, Bessho couldn’t choose just one.
“Teamwork, dedication, sportsmanship, focus, fundamentals and fun,” he said.
If selected to be the head coach of next year’s team, Bessho said he would enter the 2013 season with the same lofty expectations he carried this year.
“My goal for next summer would remain the same, which is to make it to the championship game of every tournament,” he said. “The key to the success, and reaching this goal, is to have fun, play hard, and give 110 percent.”