PC American ready for Little League SE Regional

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Call this Phenix Rising.

The Phenix City American All-Stars won the Alabama Little League state title and now they're set to make the trip to Warner Robins for the Southeast Regional.

They  ran the table at the District 4 tournament in Sylacauga, then went a perfect 4-0 at the state tourney in Huntsville. But none of this should have come as a surprise...

"We all have played on several different all-star teams up to this point and we all have played at least on one or two travel ball teams together so we bond good together as a team," said catcher Garrett Keyt. We've all been in big situations, so we're not new."

" They've worked for this since they were nine," manager Charles Haines said. "We have several players on this team that did go to the Tournament of State Champions when they were ten to West Virginia, so they got that little bit of taste in their mouth when they were ten and they've been itching to go back again. So they're finally getting to go and it's going to be a great experience for them."

American put up some serious numbers on offense, racking up 61 runs in those six games. They also ripped a dozen homers, but center fielder and pitcher Zion Morris says don't get the idea they're swinging for the fences.

"We're just trying to get on base so other people can hit them in," Morris explained. "That's where we've got the lineup and everything. So we just mainly try to hit line drives."

"We've got a little bit of everything, we've got a little bit of power, little bit of contact, little bit of speed," pitcher-first baseman Tyler Haines said.

"We've got a lot of power, and then we've got a lot of contact too that can hit," agreed Keyt. "Everybody can hit down the lineup."

They also have arms. Lots of arms. Eight different players can take the mound for American. Zion Morris has hit 70 miles-an-hour with his fastball, but he's not the only strong arm on the roster. Tyler Haynes is another fireballer. Keyt, as the catcher, has the best angle on what the pitching staff is like.

We've got three or four really hard throwing kids that have got good breaking pitches and stuff to keep them off-balance, said Keyt, and we've got kids that will throw way below normal speed and keep them off balance, so it's a good mix.

There's one thing that makes it an even greater experience... and that's to have success on the bigger stage. Been there, done that certainly helps.

It makes a big difference because you just have to go out there and play hard, Tyler Haines said. You can't just go through the basics, go through the motions. You've got to do everything right.

Zion Morris agreed. We have to practice better to be able to beat those other teams. So we come out here and work hard.

Phenix City American will open Southeast Regional play versus Tampa Keystone Little League on Friday at 4 pm ET in Warner Robins.