The Weddington 10U National League All Stars "BLUEHOUNDS



The Weddington 10U National League All Stars "BLUEHOUNDS
Submitted by Richard Laughlin
The Weddington 10U National League
he Wesley Chapel Weddington Athletic Association, WCWAA, in
Weddington, NC is the home of the Weddington 10U National
League 10U All Star Team. We have a tremendous association run
by volunteers. We are fortunate in the state of North Carolina to enjoy great
baseball weather in February and start our recreation league early.
This past year the WCWAA fielded two All Star Teams, one from the
National League and one from the American League in the Minors Division.
The competition was fierce to make either of these squads. Players are nominated by their recreation league coaches, voted by their fellow players, and
invited by the All Star Coach to try out for their league’s all star team.
The National League Team had eleven players from six of the eleven
squads that made up the national league division this year. The team was
formed during the middle of the recreational league championship series in
May and played summer all star baseball.
In order to get any team to bond together, the individuals go through
stages of growth.
First is the excitement of making
the squad.
Second is measuring themselves
against the other
all star players
chosen. One of
the critical stages
of development is
trying to find a
common bond
that just this team
will share. After
winning their first
tournament in
Matthews, NC
over the
Memorial Day
tournament, the
players wanted a
nickname. They
continued to ask
me, the head
coach, for a nickname for their team. I explained if they could come together and agree with
all eleven players they could have a nickname for the team.
The Weddington Nationals entered the “Beast of the East” in June 2009
Page 84 • Baseball The Magazine • Issue 4 2009
without a nickname. Numerous ideas were brought up,
but the team was unable to agree upon a nickname.
Some of the nicknames would have 7 players agree,
some would have 8, but there was not one name that all
players could agree upon.
On day 2 of the Beast of the East tournament, my
daughter and three sons convinced me to bring our pet,
Odie, a Bassett Hound, to the ball park. After each of the
games, players and families would congregate together
and share in the great American past time. In the midst
of this tournament, the team truly started the cohesion I
was looking for from the beginning. The players started
to identify with Odie and decided there was no better
mascot than the live one enjoying this day at the ball
park with the team.
After a 3-0 start to the tournament, I found myself at
the commissioner’s table finding out about our future
play. Three of the players came looking for me explaining
that I had to come quick for a team meeting. As I
approached the huddle of eleven boys, the smiles were
wide and the enthusiasm was high. One of the players,
Ray Dawood, became the group
spokesperson and announced,
“Coach we are 100% on our nickname!” A second player, David Bayha,
asked, “Are you ready, coach, for our
I asked them one more time,
“Every one is in agreement?” All
eleven heads were bobbing up and
down and they were busting at the
seams to announce their name. All of
a sudden three of the players in the
middle of the group knelt down and
there was Odie in the middle of the
team with a Player’s hat on and a blue
bandanna. All of the players at once
started yelling, “We are the BLUEHOUNDS!”
We had a very enjoyable time at
the Beast of the East tournament. It’s
always great to win a tournament. But to be a part of
team developing into one voice can be a rewarding
experience. I will always remember the Beast of the
East and the emergence of the Bluehounds.
As stated earlier, competition was fierce for getting
on this All Star team, and I would like to highlight
some of the talent which made up the squad. Not only
are these good ball players, they are great students,
good citizens, and very talented off the field also.
Jack Jankowski, #99, throws right, bats right,
plays 1B, 3B, and Catcher: Jack has played at
WCWAA for 5 years, two time All Star, favorite
player is Alex Rodriguez. Jack is also an accomplished swimmer; he was a 2009 Division 1 All Star
swimming the 100 yd freestyle relay, the 25 yd
free, and the 25 yd butterfly. He was on the 2009
Honor Roll for Weddington Elementary and also
volunteers for Operation Shoebox, sending supplies to our troops overseas.
David Bayha, #9, throws right, bats right, plays OF
and 1B: David has been playing baseball for 6
years. David is a two time All Star. David is an A
student at Weddington Elementary and received
the 4th grade Leadership Award this past year.
David’s older brother plays for the local high
school. Baseball runs deep in the family and
remains his favorite sport. His favorite team is the
Atlanta Braves, favorite player David Wright.
Austin Hall, #10, throws right, bats right, plays OF
and 1B: Austin has been playing baseball for 5
years. At the age of 8 Austin announced to his parents, “I was born to play
this game, baseball is my passion.” Austin had 32 stolen bases during the
recreation league season with a batting average of .768. He hit his first
home run this year over the CF wall. Austin was selected as the Most
Improved Student for 2008 at Rea View Elementary. He has been selected
as the Kiwanis Club’s Terrific Kid. Austin was selected as the only representative from his school to attend the D.A.R.E. leadership camp this summer.
He recently received his Arrow of Light for Cub Scouts and is now a Boy
Richie Laughlin, #22, throws right, bats right, Pitcher, 1B and OF: Richie
has been playing baseball for six years. He is a two time All Star. Richie is in
the AIG program at Antioch Elementary. He has been selected as a Kiwanis
Club Terrific Kid. He is currently enrolled in the University of Duke Talent
Identification Program. He recently scored in the top 3% of the school in
state testing. Richie is on the Weddington Pop Warner football team and
starts at Flanker and Defensive End. Richie’s favorite player is Victor
Martinez and his favorite team is the Cleveland Indians.
Ray Dawood, #00, throws right, bats right, SS, 2B, LF: Ray had to be one of
the most exciting players to watch on the Bluehounds. If he got on base, he
was going to score. If a ball was hit in his direction, he was going to make
the catch. Ray has been playing baseball since the age of 4. His favorite
position is SS. He excels in school, selected last year for the AIG program in
math. His favorite player is Adam LaRoche. He plans someday to attend
LSU and study Paleontology.• • Page 85