The Columbia County Parks and Recreation 11/12 Girls All-Stars are ready to play for real again.
After winning the Georgia state tournament on June 29, the All-Stars have been cooling their heels waiting for the 2014 Dixie Ponytails World Series, which will be in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. beginning Aug. 4.
“We had state and we’ve had two scrimmages,” said head coach Scott McChesney at practice at Patriots Park on Tuesday night. “The girls are through with practice, they’re ready to start playing.”
While there was a lot of time between the state competition and the World Series, it did have some advantages.
“We were early with state which is good because it let us get the best rooms down there because everybody else didn’t know they were going yet,” said McChesney.
The experience will be a repeat for three of the team’s players; Raegin Flanigan, Aden Cox and Macie Widener, who played in the 2013 Dixie Ponytails World Series in Bluffton, S.C.
Flanigan, who said she pitches and plays everywhere else on the field, thinks the team has what it takes to do well.
“They give a lot of effort and they work really hard and they just have a lot of heart,” the 13-year-old Flanigan said. “I think we’re going to win this year.”
Also 13-years-old, third baseman Mackenzie Smith said the team’s attitude is what carries them.
“I think this team adjusts to the level of playing all the teams we’ve played,” Smith said. “No matter if we’re winning or losing they still give their hardest and I think if something bad happens, we all forget about it, which is a good thing a team does – forget about it and move on to the next play.”
McChesney thinks the whole weeklong experience will be a good one for the team, which will travel to North Myrtle Beach on Sunday, August 3, the day before the competition gets going.
“This year they’re really putting on a good show for us,” he said. “We’re doing a parade, the whole nine yards with that.”
As well as the World Series, Smith knows there will be time for other things as well, which she is also looking forward to.
“Well, I know we get to hang out a lot after and go to the beach and go out to eat and stuff,” said Smith.
If the All-Stars and the team from South Carolina win on Monday, the All-Stars will face the two-time defending champions on Tuesday. McChesney likes the depth of his pitching staff and the whole makeup of his entire squad.
“We’re deep,” said McChesney. “We’re not all power, but we’ve got speed mixed in with that. It’s really making coaching easy this year.”