By JOSH FRYE
The Poarch Creek Indians Recreation Department was all smiles as the week began and players who competed during last week’s 2019 Native American Youth Organization (NAYO) Baseball and Softball Tournament in Cherokee, N.C., made their way back home.
As they filtered back in to the Poarch community, they were not empty handed.
Out of 11 different teams Poarch fielded during the tournament, six returned home with trophies.
“I am extremely proud of each and every one of the kids who competed,” PCI Sports Coordinator Jake McGhee said. “It is an awesome opportunity to work with these young men and women. I am very blessed to be able to serve as the Poarch Creek Sports Coordinator.”
Each team had only two practices prior to the tournament due to inclement weather.
The NAYO Tournament is the annual time for tribal youth sports participants to shine. Each year, the tournament is held at a different federally recognized tribal reservation and is made of up teams from various tribes who come together for fellowship and friendly competition.
This year the Poarch Creek 10-and-Under boys were the stars of the tournament. The Poarch youngsters fought their way from the loser’s bracket and played a total of eight games, including six back-to-back contests, before hoisting the first-place trophy.
The 15-and-Under boys and girls also claimed first-place trophies during the tournament, each breezing through without a loss. The boys won two games; the girls four.
The 8-and-Under boys coach-pitch team took home a second-place trophy, playing six games while falling short in only two, and the Poarch 17-and-Under and 12-and-Under boys added third-place trophies in the double-elimination tournament.
The 17U boys played a total of three games, and the 12U boys played five games.
The Poarch Creek adults will travel to the Seminole reservation in South Florida later in the month to compete at the 2019 Native American Sports Association (NASA) tournament.