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Girls 11-12 All-Stars win state, heading to Dixie Ponytails World Series

Posted: July 4, 2015 - 11:12pm
The 11/12 All-Stars won the state tournament. Left to right from back row: coach Jesse Strickland, Erin Skinner, assistant Don Skinner, Heather Williams, Regan Parrish, Kaylee Braddy, Ansley Wood, Sarah Long, assistant Brad Burnett; front row: Cammie Armstrong, Cameryn Cook, Anna Burnett, Kelly Shay, Olivia Strickland, Grace Huffman.   Special
Special
The 11/12 All-Stars won the state tournament. Left to right from back row: coach Jesse Strickland, Erin Skinner, assistant Don Skinner, Heather Williams, Regan Parrish, Kaylee Braddy, Ansley Wood, Sarah Long, assistant Brad Burnett; front row: Cammie Armstrong, Cameryn Cook, Anna Burnett, Kelly Shay, Olivia Strickland, Grace Huffman.

The Columbia County Parks and Recreation 11/12 Girls All-Stars are making winning state tournaments look routine.

At the end of June, after preparing for four weeks, the All-Stars went to Baldwin County to play in the Dixie State Tournament.

They beat Taylor County in the first two of a best-of-three series, advancing to the Dixie Ponytails World Series for the third consecutive year.

The team will head to Hartsville, S.C., from July 24 to through July 30, representing Georgia against 11 other state champions.

While the All-Stars had history against Taylor County, they didn’t take them for granted going in.

“You don’t want to underestimate them but we handled them last year,” head coach Jesse Strickland said. “It looks like they’ve recruited some players this year. And they actually only played nine girls. We had to beat them with a 12-person roster against a nine-person roster which is really difficult.”

The All-Stars blanked Taylor County in Game 1, 4-0, with Anna Burnett, Ansley Wood and Cammie Armstrong shutting them down. Wood also went 1 for 2 with a double while Sarah Long added a triple and drove in a run.

In Game 2, the two teams kept the fans on the edge of their seats before the All-Stars came away with the 12-11 win in seven innings.

Offensively, Long led the way going 2 for 2 with a triple and an RBI.

Wood was 2 for 3 with a double, triple and RBI while Heather Williams had two hits with a double and three RBI.

Burnett, Wood, Williams, and Armstrong each took turns on the mound in the win.

Strickland has experienced players on the team and has enjoyed seeing their growth process.

“It’s been interesting to see the girls – we’ve got four returners from last year’s runner-up team – and they’ve kind of taken the lead of the team now and to see them kind of guide the girls has been the most interesting thing about it,” said Strickland of Long Armstrong, Burnett and Olivia Strickland.

“You normally don’t think of 12-, 13-year-old girls taking leadership roles on themselves and it’s kind of neat watching that development.”

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