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Hartselle Enquirer

Hartselle girls sweep district

Hartselle Dixie all-star softball teams captured championship honors in their respective age divisions of the District I Tournament in Hartselle Monday night and earned the right to compete for state titles in Enterprise and Midland, beginning July 17.
The 7-8 Darlings, 9-10 Angels and 11-12 Ponytails went undefeated in district play while the 13-15 Belles had to overcome a loss in order to advance. On the state level, the Darlings, Angels and Ponytails will play in Enterprise and the Belles will compete in Midland.
The Darlings pounded Lexington 13-3 in the championship game. Earlier, they hammered Lexington 23-1 and knocked out Underwood, 14-3.
“This is a scrappy bunch of kids, not as big as last year’s team but way faster,” said Manager Chad Bevis. They’re a strong hitting team, too, and play good defense. I’m proud of all of them and look forward to the challenge of state competition.”
Hartselle’s Darlings have won state championship titles for three years in a row and won a world championship title in 2007.
The Angels advanced by defeating Underwood 13-3 in the final game. They had wins over Brooks, 17-2, and Underwood, 4-2, in earlier games.
“This team has a lot of resilience and heart,” said Manager Tim Martin. “On top of that they’re good athletes with a lot of experience and are very coachable.”
Six members of the team have played on four straight state championship teams and are former world series champions: Kenzie Parker, Reagan Martin, La’Ninya Wiggins, Karly Agee, Paige Garner and Brooklyn Wallace.
The Ponytails had to fight from behind to defeat Underwood, 7-6 in a nine-inning game. They trailed 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning before they bounced back with a three-run rally to tie the score at 6-all and went on to win the game 7-6 in the bottom of the ninth.
“These girls are fighters,” said Manager John Michael Watson. ”They were down to Muscle Shoals in the opening game but fought back in extra innings to win 11-10. Tonight, they were down by three runs in the last inning but scored three to tie and went on to win in extra innings. You can’t ask for more fight than that. They never quit and they always put pressure on the other team.”
Jaden Boyd, the catcher, lost a fingernail in the fifth inning but remained in the game to bat after it was treated and bandaged. Her replacement, Rose Braun, successfully caught the remaining four innings without any previous experience at the position.
The Belles clawed their way from the brink of defeat to prevail over Underwood, 6-5, in their final game. They were down 2-5 when they scored four runs in the top of the seventh In an earlier game, Underwood came out on top 6-3. Hartselle advanced to the final by defeating Underwood 9-4 and Decatur 14-0.
“These players are tough kids. They don’t know the meaning of ‘quit,’” said Manager Matt Jared. “I knew all along that the only way they were going to lose was if the coaches messed things up. I’m extremely proud of this team and I‘m excited that they’re moving on to the next level. We couldn’t ask for more than what they gave in the last inning.”
Hartselle and Morgan County will also be represented at state in the older Debs (17-18) division. The Decatur Dixie Debs all-stars advanced with back-to-back 14-0 and 11-1 wins over Underwood in a district I tournament in Decatur. Two Hartselle players are members of that team. They are Meaghan Gray, who is headed to Northwest Shoals and Anna Beth Hall, a shortstop at Calhoun Community College.

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