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Hartselle Enquirer

Hartselle's Dixie softball teams take charge in Alabama

By Staff
Sending three teams to World Series in same year highly unlikely in Dixie competition
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's Dixie Girl's Softball League turned a lot of heads last week after its all-star teams from the Darlings (7-8), Belles (13-15) and Debs (16-18) divisions won state championship titles and earned berths in Dixie World Series competitions.
The Darlings drew Monroe County (Ga.) for a first round opponent at West Stanly, N.C., on Saturday, July 21, at 3 p.m. The Debs will face Georgetown County (S.C.) in Marianna, Fla., on Saturday, July 28, at 1:30 p.m. and the Belles will play the host team at the same location at 3 p.m.
"In the early days it was not uncommon for one league to put three teams in the World Series in the same year but in today's market it usually doesn't happen," said Obie Evans of Birmingham, national Dixie Softball League president. "In fact, I can't remember when Alabama had three teams in the World Series from the same city."
"Hartselle has one of the best programs in Dixie Softball and this is underscored by how well they did in the state tournaments," he added. "My plans are to be present at all three World Series sites and I look forward to seeing the Hartselle teams play."
"The entire community can take pride in having three teams make it to the World Series" stated Keith Long, Hartselle Dixie Softball League president. "It starts with the Parks and Recreation Department and includes the dedication and hard work of a lot of people…officials, coaches, players, parents and fans. We've got the league moving in the right direction. Nothing would please me more than to have all three teams come back home with a World Series trophy."
"The closest we've come to having more than one team competing for a national title at the same time was a few years ago when we had a Dixie softball team and a Dixie baseball team in a World Series," recalled Frank Miller, Parks and Recreation director. "Dixie Softball in Hartselle is on a strong footing. That's a credit to the many volunteers who give freely of their time and resources to make it something special."
"This is monumental and I'm very excited for the girls and coaches who made it happen," Mayor Dwight Tankersley stated. "I know they will represent Hartselle well and I wish them the best of luck."
Hartselle has had only one national champion in softball. The Ponytails (11/12-year-olds) won the World Series in Gautier, Miss. in 1982. The team capped a 19-game post season win streak by defeating Mississippi 6-0.
Following that series, team member Jeaniece Slater commented: "They had rain out there for 26 straight days. You could go swimming in the outfield the water was so deep."
Three other teams have competed for a national title. In 1983, a Dixie World Series was held in Hartselle and a host team was among the entries. A Belles team made it to the World Series in Denton, Texas, in 1998 and again in 2006. The 2006 Belles finished fifth in the World Series in Alexandria, La. Two players from that team-Meaghan Gray and Breanna Riley-are also members of the 2007 Belles state champions.

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