Fortunately for Beatty, it didn’t take long for his team to get the message.
The Cougars Red raced to a 20-4 overall record, then completed the season with 18 consecutive victories, culminating in the Dizzy Dean Baseball World Series championship for their age group.
Sandy Plains posted a 3-0 record through pool play to advance to the championship bracket where it finished as one of the top eight teams to move on to the elite eight bracket. Cougars Red polished off the Winston Bandits by a 22-7 score to reach the final four where it beat Hobgood Heat out of Cherokee County 15-12 before taking down its nemesis, the Acworth Warriors Orange, 10-2, to claim the title.
Sandy Plains finished 8-0 in the 24-team tournament, which was held July 25-31 in Southaven, Miss., and outscored its opponents 154-55.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” Beatty said. “At the beginning of the season, I told them that they had the talent to win it all and they did. They won the last 18 games of the season to win the district, state and World Series championships.
“For a bunch of 6-year-old kids, they played like young men. They never gave up, and had the same demeanor after a game whether they won or lost.”
The final matchup against Acworth Warriors Orange marked the sixth time the two teams had faced each other this season. Cougars Red had won three of the five previous meetings and extended the advantage to four of six with the championship victory.
“They were our biggest competition all year,” Beatty said.
The Hobgood Heat went on to beat the Northport Nationals 14-3 for third place, giving the metro Atlanta area teams the top three spots in the final standings. The Heat and Warriors Orange each finished 7-1 in the tournament.
“The top three teams were all from Georgia,” Beatty said. “I’m as proud of that as I am of my team.”
KJ Hart of the Sandy Plains Cougars Red was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Gavin Bodoh, Will Flowers, Hart, Jared James and Braeden Kirby were named to the all-tournament team.
Cougars Red won six of the eight tournaments they competed in this summer and finished with a 38-4 record.
“That’s quite a haul of trophies they picked up,” Beatty said. “They’re talking about coming back and doing it all again as a 7-year-old team.”
Beatty said the key to the team’s success was its ability to play together as a unit.
“They learned to play as a team and not as individuals the last three weeks,” he said. “If a kid made a mistake, the guys would pick him up and keep going.”
The Sandy Plains Cougars Red took home a big trophy for their World Series win, one that was nearly as tall as some of the players.
“I think even as six-year-olds, they understand what they’ve done,” Beatty said. “It’s a good thing that they’re six though, because when they lose, they don’t dwell on it at all and just want to get their snacks.
“When they win, they’re more excited about getting to go to the pool.”