As the summer softball season winds down, some Columbia County All Stars will get another chance to shine when two teams from the recreation department's Dixie League travel to World Series games starting Saturday.
Aston LeoGrande, 15, throws the ball to home plate during the Dixie Belles practice.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Dixie Belles, girls age 13-15, will compete in Jackson, Tenn.,; and the Dixie Ponytails, 11-12, will travel to Alexandria, La., for the week long events.
The World Series caps the Dixie League season which started in May.
The girls, who are all Columbia County residents chosen from various teams, represent a cross section of area neighborhoods and schools.
Columbia County has fielded all star teams in the World Series for several years, and it's a thrilling time full of competition, friendship and family gatherings, said Christi DeLoach, recreation department program coordinator for both leagues
"The parents are always excited," she said. "We usually take a full caravan behind us."
The Belles earned their berth in the World Series by soundly defeating opponents at the Georgia state tournament, scoring 40 runs in three games to just 9 runs total for all three opponents, said coach Tuga Pearson.
Their talent and dedication will help the girls play well next week, Pearson predicted.
"They have a good chance of winning," he said. "They are just pumped up."
This is the third year in a row several team members have advanced to the World Series representing the Belles division.
Members of the Ponytails also played well in Georgia state tournament action, showing superior team work and determination despite brutal heat.
Dixie Belles All-stars: Brittany Newsome (front row, from left), Mira Wattar, Kelley Sebelist, Amber Laurin, Kassie Bailey, Bethany Anderson; Meagan Weathers (back row, from left) Jennifer Kinsey, Laura Brown, Brittany Pearson, Melinda Cavenaugh and Aston LeoGrande.
Head Coach David Brown and assistant coaches Judy and Tuga Pearson.
"These girls have worked so hard," said coach Mike Patterson. "I'm proud of them."
Traveling to the World Series will be a new experience for most members of the Ponytails, and the excitement level is high.
"We're going with the intent of winning and to have a good time," Patterson said. "It's very rewarding as a coach to have girls like this and parents like this."
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