Tournaments | Story | 7/14/2019

Dirtbags driven by visibility

Cory Van Dyke     
Photo: Tucker Toman (Perfect Game)
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- 312 baseball teams from all across the country have gathered in Georgia for the 2019 WWBA 15u National Championship. With so many of the best 15 year old players coalesced in one spot, it brings college baseball coaches right along to observe the talent.

One of those teams who college coaches will be keeping a keen eye on this week is Dirtbags 15u Tap Out. The Dirtbags have already made their mark with a 3-0 record while outscoring opponents 31-4.

Connor Fuhrman (South Carolina) and Carter Boyd (Florida) represent the two players on the Dirtbags’ roster who are already committed. Otherwise, the Dirtbags are filled with players looking to make an impression on this big stage.

“This is a great opportunity for these kids to get out here,” said head coach Trey Daly who also operates as the general manager of Dirtbags Baseball. “The most important thing in this tournament is the visibility of college coaches.

“Wins take care of themselves, but you try to take care of the kids first and foremost. That’s what this thing is all about. Sometimes the best teams don’t win this tournament, but at the end of the day, it’s about getting these kids exposure and getting in front of the right people.”

The most sought after player on the Dirtbags roster is Tucker Toman, the No. 34 overall prospect in the 2022 class. 

Tucker Toman first and foremost, he’s a great kid to be around,” Daly said. “He’s got tons of talent, but he’s a great kid. He lets his abilities show. He’s not one of those guys who is going to beat his chest a whole lot. He’s just going to be business oriented and go get a job done.”

Through three games, Toman is batting .364 with four hits including a solo home run in Sunday’s 5-0 win over Houston Athletics. The day before he added two RBIs in the Dirtbags 17-4 triumph against the Yalobusha Giants.

“I’m seeing the ball pretty good,” Toman said. “All of us are. Shoot, the second game we collected 16 hits. We’re just hitting at the right time.”

The third baseman possesses a baseball IQ that’s rarely seen from a 15 year old. Much of it can be attributed to being around his father, Jim Toman, over all those years. Jim played college ball at NC State and he’s currently the head coach at Middle Tennessee State University. He was also the former head coach at Liberty University from 2008-2016.

“It’s tough, but it helps a lot with just the knowledge he gives me everyday,” Toman said about having a father who’s been around the game of baseball for so long. “I can ask him something and he knows everything about the game. It’s helps a lot being around college baseball. You just get advanced with your knowledge of the game and everything.”

The Dirtbags’ pitching in Sunday’s win raised a few eyebrows. The team used four pitchers to combine for no-hitter in the 5-0 shutout. Ryder Douglas did the majority of the work, tossing four innings while striking out five. 

Mason Howell, Boyd, and Toman preserved it over the last three innings, but it didn’t garner the celebration one might expect. Toman, who recorded the final out, said he wasn’t even aware that the team had a no-hitter. Nonetheless, it was a 21-out performance that encapsulates what the Dirtbags attempt to do anytime someone takes the bump for them.

“We stress attacking the zone and that’s what we did today,” Daly said.

“You throw Ryder Douglas who is a 6-foot-6 righthander. He attacked the zone. You come back with a little lefthander with good pitchability in Mason Howell. You come back with the Florida commit in Carter Boyd. He’s got an electric fastball. Then you come back with Tucker Toman. He just does it all for us.”

It’s the Dirtbags way of playing. The team’s identity consists of hard, scrappy play while making the routine plays. Daly carries 16 players on his roster, not the 25-30 that some teams bring strictly in the hopes of winning some rings. 

“We’ve got the right guys in the dugout,” Daly said. “Everybody wants to play for the name on the front of the jersey. It’s not about the name on the back. Once you start looking at the name on the back of the jersey no matter what team or what tournament you play for, you have the wrong guys in the dugout.”

The same formula has brought prestige over the years to the Dirtbags. They’ve produced 688 college commitments, 193 players drafted, and a handful of MLB players including Madison Bumgarner and Corey Seager. 

“It feels great, but it’s a big responsibility,” said Fuhrman about playing for the Dirtbags. “You have to come out here and play hard to represent the name.”

Over the course of the next week, the Dirtbags main mission will be garnering the exposure for the group of players on the roster. However, if the play on the field remains the same or even sees an uptick, there may be more to come for the Sedalia, North Carolina ball club.

“I just want to do whatever I can do to help the team win,” Fuhrman said. “I’d like to see us win it all. I think we have the chance to do it.”
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