FORT SMITH (KFSM)- For the first time in nearly a decade there is a Junior American Legion team back in the River Valley.
"It's kind of a ground breaking thing," said Sportsman Gage Gattis. "It's been so long since we have done it and I knew that with the talent that we have in the tryouts that we could really make a spark with something."
The Forsgren Sportsmen are enjoying a banner first season, boasting a 24-5 record. When the summer began, head coach Shea Hamilton didn't know what to expect, but the team has far exceeded anything he could have imagined.
"We wanted to be really good, said Hamilton. "We wanted to be successful but honestly we had no idea what we were going to get so we have been pleasantly surprised."
Hamilton says that their chemistry on and off the field is why they have been so successful. The veteran coach credits their first tournament win in Morrilton for really bringing them together.
"Just seeing the kids gel and hit the ball so well that weekend led to what we think has been a great season so far."
Their chemistry has translated to their strong presence at the plate. Through almost 30-games they're batting over .300 as a team.
"We feed off each other," said Gattis. "If somebody gets a hit the dugout goes wild, and it's like a competition as well we are so competitive everyone of us even if it`s against each other we are super competitive."
The Sportsmen have their sights set on an appearance the State tournament, but they want to continue pursuing their main goal which is having fun.
"The biggest thing these kids have done all year so far has been have fun at the plate," said Hamilton. "Have fun playing baseball, which was our number one goal, we wanted them the have fun."
The Sportsmen will be playing in the American Legion Jr. Area 1 tournament this weekend (July 8-11) at Arkansas Tech.