The game was tied 4-4 with two outs on a rainy Wednesday night in Alabama.
Columbia County's fast-pitch softball Dixie Debs World Series champions pose with their trophy after representing Georgia in winning the state its first fast-pitch softball Dixie Debs World Series title.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
Columbia County Recreation Department Dixie Debs softball pitcher Jenni Massingale was perched on third base, waiting for her chance to cross home plate and win the game. Her chance came on a passed ball by the Dothan, Ala., catcher.
Massingale sprinted home safely, but the significance of the run took a moment to hit her, she said.
Her heads-up base running secured Georgia its first fast-pitch softball Dixie Debs World Series title.
"I still don't think it has sunk in," the 18-year-old Augusta State University student said upon her return to Columbia County on Thursday. "All I was thinking about was making it home."
Columbia County swept a double-header against Alabama, the host team, on Wednesday, winning the first game 6-1, to take the series. The sweep was particularly sweet, considering that Georgia sustained a 4-1 loss to the same team earlier in the tournament.
"We had to fight our way back up through the losers' bracket to get to the championship game," Georgia Debs coach Mike Leverett said. "That Dothan team was really put together. They were tough. But we played hard and never gave up."
In the rubber match, Alabama jumped to an early 4-2 lead. Columbia County came back to tie the game with runs in the bottoms of the third and fifth innings.
Austin Long, a pitcher for the Columbia County Recreation Department team that represented Georgia in the Dixie Debs fast-pitch softball world series, steps out of a van at Patriots Park after the team's return Thursday from Dothan, Ala. Columbia County's team won the championship after sweeping a double header with Alabama.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
In the seventh, Leverett's daughter, Brittany, led off with a double. Following a Kayla Adams ground out, Massingale hit a grounder to third. Leverett tried to score, but was thrown out at home. Brittany Turner then hit a ground-rule double to left-field, setting Massingale up for the error that won the series.
"It's a great feeling," said 18-year-old Mercer University freshman Meredith Weare, who was the winning pitcher in the first game of the double-header as well as hitting a home run and a double. "We did all the things we needed to do and it paid off."
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