The Howard County Titans pose for a picture during a practice Wednesday. The team will be traveling to Ruidoso over the weekend to participate in a state vs. state tounament. The Titans are: (back row, from left) Coach Chris Martinez, Kobe Cervantes, Brandon Valdez, Coach Freddie Oliveras, James Alexander, Isaiah Solis and Coach Manuel Cervantes. Front row: (from left) McCray Jacobs, Seth Brooks, Kelby Olivarez, Chris Martinez Jr., Ky Kemper and Grayson Jacobs.
The Howard County Titans are on a roll. The elite 8-and-under traveling baseball squad comprised of kids from Big Spring, Coahoma and Forsan is currently ranked first in the West Texas division standings. They have won four out of six tournaments they have competed in this season and are preparing for a state vs. state, king of the hill-style competition being held Saturday in Ruidoso, N.M.
Most of the young athletes also play Little League baseball, but there are differences between the Titans' league and Little League play according to team manager Angela Brooks.
â€śIn Little League, you don't get to pick your team,â€ť Brooks said. â€śYou have to try out for this team, and you have to be an elite player to make it. They play in the league too, So they are on the baseball field five days a week.â€ť
The Titans have earned respect wherever they travel. Teams from larger cities are cautious when playing the Titans, who can compete with any other roster, but it wasn't like this last year.
â€śIt was a rough year,â€ť Brooks added. â€śWe didn't win too much. The boys have just come together. They decided to concentrate and hit the ball and focus on not making as many errors.â€ť
If there is another key to the Titans' success, it could be their confidence.
Outfielder Seth Brooks is proof of that. â€śI'm naturally good,â€ť Brooks said.
He enjoys the traveling aspect too. â€śYou get to go to new places and see the world,â€ť Brooks proclaimed.
The â€śworldâ€ť may be a bit smaller to a crew of seven and eight year olds, as the farthest they have ventured so far is Amarillo, but don't tell the Titans that.
Chris Martinez, who coaches the Titans along with Freddie Oliveras and Manuel Cervantes enjoys working with the squad â€” as well as his son, Chris Martinez Jr., who plays on the team.
â€śWhat I like is bringing the boys up and teaching them to be better,â€ť Martinez explained. â€śHopefully someday, some of them will get a chance to get a college scholarship to play ball. And just seeing their smiles when they win a championship is great. They are a different team now. It's nice to see how far they have come since the first time we saw them.â€ť
According to Brooks, the Titans make quite a grand entrance. The team has a signature chant â€” adapted from the movie 'Remember the Titans' â€” a Walt Disney football film based on an actual football team in Virginia.
â€śIt's the only team I know of that does it,â€ť Brooks added. â€śThey line up and sing 'We are the Titans... the mighty, mighty Titans'. It's very disciplined. The crowd just gets quiet when they take the field chanting.â€ť
The Titans' goal is to qualify for a World Series, which will likely be played in Las Cruces or Dallas. The team will play in at least four more tournaments through July. If donations are received that allow them to participate in more, they will.
Brooks said any person or business willing to donate may do so by calling her at 213-3513.
â€śIf anyone donates they get a postcard with a picture of the team,â€ť she said. â€śI keep a very detailed description of the whole account and I will provide it to anyone who donates. I know where every dime goes.â€ť
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