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Screven County youngsters go national
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B.J. Carver, 8, of Sylvania, fires a pitch for the Baseball Youth America team in Westfield, Ind., in July. Carver and Screven County native Xander Kile, 9, were two of the 12 players to be selected via a video highlights submission. - photo by Special to the Herald

    SYLVANIA — Two of Screven County’s youngest baseball players got a taste of big league success earlier this month as 8-year old B.J. Carver and 9-year old Xander Kile were selected to travel to Westfield, Ind., to play with the Baseball Youth America team.
    The pair joined talented players from across the nation in the five-day camp.
    They were given the chance to play several different positions throughout practices and games and — unlike the rules for their age groups in Georgia — hit off of live pitching.
    Kile spent most of his week in Indiana patrolling the outfield, but Carver bounced from pitcher to second base to centerfield.
    “It was really cool,” Kile said. “It was also really hard. Things were a little different and everyone was really good. It was fun to play with all of the best players.”
    In all, just 49 players were selected to make up the five 9U teams at the event. Many made the squad via open tryouts, but both Carver and Kile took a tougher road.
    With no tryouts in the area, Baseball Youth America also accepted highlight reels to be submitted and judged. Both made a big enough impression to be two of just 12 players selected via video submission.
    “I was excited to get picked,” Carver said. “It was a lot of fun to see different places.”
    “I found out that I made the team from my parents,” Kile said. “My dad had a letter and I had to beg him to see it. I read it and it said ‘congratulations’, then I just celebrated.”
    Both players enjoyed taking the field with new teammates, and Carver mentioned that he had made a new friend, Adam, from Kansas. All new friends made came from far off places as Carver and Kile were two of only three players from the state of Georgia.
    A few more baseball games await as the summer winds down before the duo shifts to different sports.
    Carver plays football and basketball while Kile has played football in the past, but is already looking forward to another year on the baseball diamond.
    With a year separating them, the pair played on different teams in the Screven Spurs organization this summer. Next year, Carver will move up and the Spurs will have a pair of national standouts to throw at the competition.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.