HOLLY POND, Ala. — Holly Pond’s 12-and-under baseball team is heading to the Dizzy Dean Baseball World Series in Southaven, Mississippi. The Broncos qualified for the state tournament after making it through the Dizzy Dean Baseball Tournament but were eliminated early on. The state director, though, approached Holly Pond head coach Erik Ryan and complimented his team’s playing skills, saying how they could really stand up to the other teams and that they represented their town well, and ended up extending an invitation for the team to play in the World Series.
Ryan is happy to see his team get a chance to play on a very big stage.
“These boys are very excited,” Ryan said. “None of them have ever been to a World Series and don’t know what to expect, but they are starting to realize how special it is.”
Ryan gave a huge thanks to Holly Pond and their town council for how much they’ve helped out during this whole process.
“Holly Pond is a special place,” Ryan said. “Everyone supports the kids in everything they do. It did not surprise me that they helped the way they did. I left the meeting amazed at how every member spoke words of encouragement to the boys and without hesitation supported the boys. We are very thankful and blessed for them to support us the way they did.”
Seeing his team get a chance to play in Mississippi made coach Ryan one of the happiest coaches in the world and he is excited to see his team hit the field in less than two weeks.
“Our boys are super excited,” Ryan said. “They have played with a lot of heart and class and they deserve this opportunity and get to experience this. Us coaches have been talking to them about how special this opportunity is and that they will remember for a very long time. I have been with most of the boys for about three years and they are great kids. They deserve this. Our parents are great as well and with the town and community support, they are beginning to see how special this is.”
In his three years of coaching, Ryan’s had a great bit of help coaching this team and they’ve taught them a lot more than just baseball. He’ll look to go out with a World Series championship in his final year.
“It is a blessing. I have great coaches helping with this team; my wife, Emily, Thomas Bell, and Mark Bell. Each one of them have given of themselves to coach these boys. I consider myself an old school coach. We try to teach more than just baseball and I expect a lot from them. We try to teach life lessons as well as baseball. These kids are special, and they love the game and each other. They have great attitudes and work hard, everything a coach could ask for. So, I consider it a blessing from God to be able to be a part of these young men’s lives,” Ryan said. “The fact that these boys are a true Park and Rec team and are competing against teams that are able to pull the best players from multiple teams to make one team, I think is a testament to their drive and love for the game,” Ryan said. “We also had some younger players that didn’t get to have the opportunity these players did. I hope the boys that will be back next year and the ones that didn’t go this year will have this opportunity again. This will be my final year with these boys, which makes it that much more special.”