Jul. 29—LONDON — Jason Parman's North Laurel 11-12-year old All-Stars are ready to make their run to a Great Lakes/Central Region crown beginning Saturday, Aug. 6, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
North Laurel has reeled off a perfect 10-0 mark during its playoff run this summer with hopes of winning four more games to advance to the Little League World Series.
Parman's squad will have had two weeks off before playing Illinois during first round action on Aug. 6 but the long layoff isn't a concern.
"Having the time off has been a blessing for us to not only rest our bodies, but get refocused on the task at hand," he admitted. "The only concern I had was not seeing live pitching but we are going to go play a travel ball tournament in Danville this weekend to get some games in. The time off will offer us valuable practice time to shore up any problem spots we may have."
Parman said the demeanor of his players has been great during their time off.
"The players are all very humbled to have been crowned state champs, but very hungry toward making it to Williamsport," he said. "They feel they have just as good a chance as anyone else and are out to prove it."
The road to the Great Lakes/Central Region championship will be a tad bit tougher for North Laurel, and Illinois, who basically play a play-in game against each other to see who advances to the second round of the double elimination tournament.
"That's par for the course for us," Parman said when asked about playing an extra game. "We had to play the play-in game against South Laurel at District. Luckily, we are blessed with 10 kids that can pitch."
Parman and his team seem loose and relaxed heading to the Great Lakes/Central Region Tournament.
He said his team brings strengths and some concerns to the table but is anxious to get the tournament started.
"I have the equivalent of the 90s Braves pitching staff," Parman joked. "But in all seriousness, my pitching staff has been a major blessing along with Tate Marcum as catcher, who calls all the pitches. Our hitting is very strong too and very contagious, meaning if we hit we have a tendency to pass the bat down the lineup.
"I have no concerns really other than the kids might be a tad nervous when they see those ESPN cameras, but they will be just fine," he added.
Parman hasn't been able to scout the other teams that that will be participating in the tournament but likes his team's chances.
"Not all state champions have been crowned yet and the Central Region does not disclose who is in it until every state championship has been won," he said. "As far as our chances go, let's just say I like our chances."
With the tournament a little more than a week away, Parman said winning the Great Lakes/Central Region would be huge for his team and community.
"The community has really been phenomenal since we have been back," he said. "We have gotten so many donations from local businesses and private individuals that our parents and kids will virtually be out hardly any cost for this trip and that's all because of the fine folks of Laurel County.
"Winning this Central Region is going to be for them and this community and we will do everything in our power to bring back another championship and get to Williamsport," Parman added.
Parman also said if any business or individual would like to donate toward the team to call him at 606-260-0291.