Last week, Huntsville Pinto All-Stars head coach Tim Gray wasn’t sure if his team quite understood what they were on the verge of accomplishing.

But as the weekend went on, it started to sink in.

Huntsville clinched a spot at the Pinto World Series on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Crosby at the Region Tournament in Friendswood, sparking a jubilant celebration from everyone involved. The event, which is scheduled for July 24-27, will take place in Youngsville, Louisiana and feature some of the best 8U all-star baseball teams in the country.

“It was just total excitement,” Gray said. “We talked last week about the kids maybe not understanding where they potentially could be headed to play, but it started to sink in on Sunday. I don't know who was more excited: the parents, coaches or players. It was a fun day.”

As the summer has progressed, Huntsville’s chemistry has continued to grow.

The team, which has only been together for a little over a month, has finished first or second in every tournament so far. They’ve also begun to develop off-the-field bonds that will continue beyond their World Series run.

“Probably the most important part is they're building friendships that may last through their primary and secondary schooling,” Gray added. “A lot of the families have become close. ... It extends beyond baseball. It's become a little family if you will.”

Huntsville’s plan until it heads to Youngsville at the end of the month is to focus on staying sharp during the break.

“We're going to try to keep the kids fresh,” Gray said. “You don't want to go two or three weeks without doing anything, so we'll take a couple days then get back in the swing of things. ... We want to go to Youngsville to do well — not just go to go.”

The Huntsville Pinto All-Stars will be holding several fundraising events in the coming weeks in order to raise money to help cover costs for travel, hotels and tournament fees. The team is currently selling tickets for a 50-50 raffle. Tickets cost $5 each or five for $20, with the live drawing taking place at Kate Barr Ross Park on July 18 at 5:45 p.m.

Those interested can contact Cassidy Stoecklein at cstoeck1@yahoo.com, or any parent on the team, for more information.