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Chiefland BRL All Stars in uncharted waters

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By Claude Lewis

The Chiefland 13-15 year-old All Stars are in uncharted waters.

An appearance in the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional in Leesburg will pit the local heroes not only against other top teams from Florida, but the entire South.

We're talking Alabama, the Carolinas, Virginia and Tennessee.

The tournament begins Thursday and will end next Monday or Tuesday.

Chiefland's opening game is at 10 a.m. Friday against the winner of Thursday's Sarasota-West North Carolina game.

"It's a real honor to get to go,"said Chiefland coach Kyle Parnell. "It's a reward for how hard we've worked."

Chiefland won its district and then was second to Tallahassee at the North State Tournament.

"The kids are excited,"Parnell said. "We don't have any experience at this (regional) level. This group won Small State Championship as Majors."

Chiefland has a strong 1-2 starting pitching punch with Brent Slaughter and Jacob Reidy. Parnell isn't sure yet who will go first.

Those two are also two of Chiefland's top hitters.

Marquis Green and Bo Beauchamp at 3-4 will also need to have good tournaments if Chiefland is to do damage.

"We've practiced a few times," Parnell said. "We're trying to stay sharp."

If Chiefland wins its first game, it will come back at 4 p.m. Saturday. If the locals drop their opener, they'll resurface at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Games will be played Sunday.

The final is slated for 1 p.m. Monday. If the losers–bracket team wins that game, they'll come back at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Tournament winner heads to the Babe Ruth World Series in Arkansas.

***

Chiefland High football coach Ajay Ulmer will have a little longer countdown than originally anticipated.

High school football practice in Florida will officially begin Aug. 11, not Aug. 4.

To mark the beginning of practice, Ulmer is having a three-day mini-camp for his players, who will sleep Monday and Tuesday nights, Aug. 11 and 12, in the weight room.

Ulmer said all players should have their camp packages well in advance of the three big days. Players should have physicals.

"Doctors Malpartida and Patterson do them for a discount,"Ulmer said. "We are grateful for them."

While most of the players have picked up their camp packages at weightlifting, Ulmer said those players who have been away can pick them up in the front office.

All paperwork must be filled out prior to Aug. 11, Ulmer said.

*****

The resident big NASCAR fan at the paper, John Helgesson, summed up Sunday's Brickyard 400 appropriately.

"That wasn't a race,"he said.

Thanks to tires supplied by Sprint Cup series supplier Goodyear, this year's Brickyard was more like a cruel joke on not only the fans in attendance, but also those who stuck it out on TV.

Simply said, the tires could not last more than 10 laps at speed.

NASCAR invented something called "competition yellows" to keep the cars from racing.

The longest green flag run was 12 laps.

Fans who paid big bucks to see cars battle side by side for 400 miles had to be disheartened. Or maybe disgusted.

I mean, the Brickyard is one of the biggest races of the year, isn't it?

Goodyear even tested at Indy back in April, but that obviously didn't help much.

This isn't the first time Goodyear has guessed wrong on tires this year.

The tires were also popping at this year's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's. Tony Stewart popped off after Goodyear rubber was also wearing thin at Atlanta.

Maybe NASCAR should open up its tire rules and let other manufacturers in on the deal.

Run what ya brung type thing.

It couldn't be worse than Sunday at the old Brickyard.