Traveling to Mauston, Wisconsin, Charlie Longmeier and Skyler Cockerham knew they we’re going up against some of the strongest baseball players in the country.
The boys typically play for the 10-and-under Seymour Bats, but July, the two traded purple for camouflage-red Indiana All-Star jerseys.
Longmeier and Cockerham recently represented Seymour at the 2015 Junior All-Star State Games.
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Teams from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan and Washington competed in the tournament.
The 10U Indiana-All Star team, which Longmeier competed with, placed third and Cockerham’s 9U All-Stars finished fifth.
Longmeier and Cockerham are the first Seymour baseball players to compete at the USSSA-run tournament in program history.
To make the team, the boys were nominated by the USSSA board of coaches.
The Indiana All-Star team was made up of kids from across the state, including Columbus, Indianapolis and Jennings County.
“It was different because everyone could hit really good,” Longmeier said. “All of our pitching was really good, our pitchers struck almost everyone out. You had to be ready at all times because a lot of kids could hit it really hard, we had to be awake in the outfield.”
Longmeier, a student at Immanuel Lutheran, said he typically plays centerfield and first base on the diamond.
“We had to work hard for it,” he said. “We had to put all our work into it every day at practice to get there.”
For Cockerham, of Brown Elementary, the tournament was an opportunity to see stiffer competition.
“It was kind of tough because all the other teams were all-stars,” Cockerham said. “They’re a little bit better than what we usually see.
“I like hitting because you can make things happen with one swing if runners are in scoring position. You can make a good line drive and help your team out by hitting a line drive.”
Cockerham said he enjoys playing third base, but also pitches and plays at first.
“It was pretty fun,” he said. “We might not have hit the best but it was a lot different that it normally is, we had to just find gaps hitting. We just didn’t hit as much as we usually do. Our pitching was pretty good.”
Both boys hope to make the team next year, and place higher than their first try at the title.
“I think we need to do better situational hitting when runners are in scoring position,” Longmeier said of the All-Star team. “I think we also need better pitching and pick up the velocity in our throws.
“Next year, I just want to be more successful.”