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Church volleyball league growing, tournament next month

Blake Rowan spikes the ball.The church volleyball league has been keeping local athletes busy all summer long with good competition and fellowship. The league started play in early June and has been going strong despite having to dodge around adverse weather conditions.

There are two important tournaments coming up in the next couple of weeks that will help determine the winners for the summer league.

The youth will compete on Aug. 2 and 3 and the adults tip off on Aug 6-10.

The league is split into two divisions, leisure and competitive, with teams for youth and adults.

This season there are 11 competitive teams. First Baptist Church of Glen St. Mary  and Raiford Road each field three teams. First Baptist of Macclenny has two teams and there are others from Christian Fellowship Temple, Destiny’s People and Sanderson Christian Revival Center.

The leisure division is larger with teams from churches around the entire county.

“The adult leisure is so large we had to split it in two this year,” said Missy Whitehead, who organizes the league. “We estimate that we’ve got around 580 people playing in the different leagues.”

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Junior camp exposes youths to Wildcat football

Kelly Williams runs a drill with junior campers.On one corner of the BCHS football practice field, Assistant Coach Kelly Williams demonstrated proper blocking techniques to a group of middle schoolers. On another, younger kids ran pass routes and on still another, future Wildcats were dodging and weaving through running drills. In all, 175 kids were learning the fundamentals and skills at the Baker County junior football camp.

“I feel that our junior camp is going very well this week,” said Coach Ryan Sulkowski. “It really is great to see so many kids show up ready to work.”

The middle schoolers gathered around the water coolers, relaxing from the morning work but perked right up when new BCMS head coach Rock Rhoden rounded the corner. Rhoden joked with his players for a few moments before heading into the gym to supervise workouts.

Sulkowski was impressed with the middle school turnout and having Rhoden at the helm.

“We have had a 98 percent attendance rate for summer workouts at the middle school and those kids are really working hard. To watch them get after it at such a young age really is impressive to see, but also makes me look toward the future and where this program can be in a few years,” the Wildcats coach said.

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Bullets top Williams, Johnson YMCAs

The Baker Bullets swim team got a big win on Saturday, July 7, defeating the Williams and Johnson YMCAs in Jacksonville. The Bullets had some strong individual performances and good times in the relays.

“Our coaches are very happy about the progress of the swimmers so far this year,” said coach Bullets Andy Johnston. “They have overcome many obstacles, especially the weather, to swim strong going into the last two weeks of the season.”

We are looking forward to the meet this weekend to see the competition for championships next Sunday

Jonathan Mobley got things going for the Bullets with a win in the 100-yard individual medley in 1:26.62. Kelsea Crain and Logan Todd were first and second in the girls 13-14 year old 100 individual medley with Crain winning in 1:39.75.

The Bullets swept the 11-12 medley with Kyrie Holman, Karlee Nelson, Loriann Bliss and Alaina Crawford taking the top four places. Holman finished in 1:37.88 for the win.

The Bullets also swept in the boys 11-12 year old medley with Ethan Knight winning in a quick time of 1:18.31. Dylan Ray, Matt Voyko, Dalton Ray and Josh Ossmann finished the sweep.

Alexandria Hill took second in the girls 9-10 year old medley. Braedon Knight took first and Landon Prevatt third in the boys 9-10 medley with Knight touching at 1:17.03.

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Little league all-stars take the field

Jared Kiper fields a grounder.The Little League All-Star teams took the field for the first time this past weekend. The districts are being run this year out of at various sites including here in Baker County and the age groups have put up some good numbers in the early rounds of play.

The 9 & 10 year olds are in Mill Creek with two teams. Baker County 1 defeated San Mateo in a 19-4 rout on June 28. They cruised to a 12-2 victory over Mill Creek on June 29 and beat Highlands 19-1 to book a spot in the semi-finals. Doing the math, they have beaten their opponents by a combined score of 50-7.

Baker County 2 lost to 13-3 in the first game on June 28 but beat NOL 2 16-11 on June 29. They lost a 12-10 nail-biter to Mill Creek on June 30 to be eliminated.

The 9 &10 year old girls beat San Mateo 15-3 on June 30 in Yulee but lost to their hosts in a 9-8 heartbreaker on July 2.

The 10 & 11 year old boys are 1-1 in the early rounds in Arlington. They walloped Highlands 16-3 on June 30, but lost to a tough San Mateo squad 10-2 on July 2.

The junior boys opened play with a big 9-4 win over San Mateo July 2 in Callahan. The Major League  boys lost at home to Highlands 15-2 on July 2.

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