Big Dogs Tournament A Big Deal

ROCKFORD-The Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania gets all the attention, but there's another major youth baseball tournament in Orlando. Just as the Rockford Big Dogs U10 team.

"We get to have good competition. We get to play teams that are really good," says Big Dogs player Zach Hollister.

"We're going to be playing 36 of the top teams in the country," says Big Dogs coach Sol Schmidt.

The Big Dogs U10 baseball team is headed to the USSSA Elite World Series in Orlando. They're the first Big Dogs team from Rockford to advance to the Elite World Series.

"This has been a goal of ours since we started when we were eight," says Schmidt. "And to finally get there is just a tremendous feeling. We're really excited for the boys. They're really a special group. They love the game. They truly have the passion of the game."

They're no strangers to competition. The Big Dogs are ranked number one in the state and fourteenth in the nation.

"The team works really hard," says Schmidt. "We start practices in November every year and they work on fundamentals, they work on the basic parts of baseball. We also focus a lot on the IQ of baseball and I think that's really this team's strength."

The other teams might be stronger but the Big Dogs have baseball smarts on their side.

"A lot of times when we play teams from larger areas, they're more talented than we are," says Schmidt.  "But this group of kids really understands how to execute plays and leverage that baseball smarts and it allows them to compete with the best teams in the country."

The Big Dogs will have to advance out of double elimination to play for the Championship.

"I think we could do pretty good as long as we hit the ball," says Big Dogs player Gabe Roessler.

"I think we're going to do good. We're just going to have to play our own baseball and don't get worried about these other teams," says Hollister.

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