Practice has made perfect for two Columbia County recreation league softball teams this season. The Dixie Debs and the Belles will play in the World Series this Saturday.
Coach Michael Leverett has high expectations for the Dixie Debs when they travel to take on Alabama in a double-elimination tournament. When asked what he expects the outcome to be, he didn't hesitate: "We expect to win it."
Leverett said his team has practiced hard to make it this far. In fact, the girls will practice for two hours every day until the tournament. He is confident that all of this hard work will pay off, and his team will bring home the trophy.
"They've always been tough during the year, but we should have a good chance to win it," said Leverett, who has been coaching recreation league softball for the past 20 years.
He said the Debs, a team in the 16-18 age division, lost to Alabama a few years ago when his team was in the 13-15 age division.
"These girls are a little older and a little wiser now," coach Leverett said.
The Belles, led by coach Ralph "Tuga" Pearson, will play Mississippi in Saturday's tournament bracket. The team, in the 13-15 age division, took on Tennessee in last year's World Series tournament.
Pearson said no girls softball team from Georgia has ever won a World Series game, so he would like to see the Belles be the first.
"If we continue to play with our current abilities, we can come away with a lot of success," said Pearson, who has been coaching softball for 10 years.
These abilities have developed through a great deal of hard work, he said. Like the Debs, the Belles, whose members were selected from recreation teams after the regular season, practice every day. Pearson said he has players from each of Columbia County's four high schools and from several middle schools and high schools in the Augusta area.
Many of the Belles participate in softball on a year-round basis, playing on school and travel teams, he said.
"A lot of sacrifices are being made from the girls' standpoint as well," coach Pearson said.
"Whatever we ask them to do, they do it. I really appreciate it."
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