Johnston County will host the Tar Heel Leagues Inc. state championship baseball tournaments in the age 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12 this weekend, bringing 32 teams and more than 2,000 spectators to the area. Smithfield Community Park and Clayton Community Park will host the tournaments, which run Thursday, July 24, until Sunday, July 27.
The Tar Heel Leagues only crown state champions so the winners here will have completed their seasons.
Six Johnston County teams will be playing. The Coach-Pitch division features Cleveland, Northeast Johnston and Benson, while the Midget League (ages 9-10) division has Cleveland and Clayton.
The most notable local team is the Southern Johnston Baseball Association South team in the Little League division. That squad features many of the players which helped SJBA South win the state Midget League title a summer ago.
The economic impact of the event for Johnston County should be in the $350,000-400,000 range according to Tar Heel Leagues Inc. president Gary Johnson, who also is the assistant director of Smithfield Parks and Recreation.
The 20 who make the team will train in Cary until July 29, then travel to Mazatlian, Mexico for the WBSC 15U World Cup, which runs through Aug. 10.
Clayton golfers Brady Hooks and Tyler Dechellis finished in a tie for 17th in the stroke play qualifying portion of the N.C. Junior Boys 13-and-Under Championship on July 14 at the Asheboro City Golf Club. They finished at 9-over-par, 79.
Hooks bowed out in the first round of the first flight match play competition. Hooks advanced to the semifinals before taking a narrow 1-up loss to the eventual fight champion, Jarrell Christian of Davidson. …
Garner’s Lee Adams and Clayton’s Joey Hatch won the Men A flight of the Carolinas Golf Association One-Day Four-Ball Tournament at Prestonwood Country Club on July 7. The duo carded a round of 67. Tate finished tied for second in the same flight, playing with Patrick Merritt of Raleigh.
Branch was an all-conference selection as well. He ran on a Southeast-based 1,600 relay team that won the emerging elite outdoor national championship. He is the son of Daphne and James Branch.