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Hartselle’s 7-8 Darlings runners-up in state tourney

For the first time in six years Hartselle’s 7- and 8-year-old Darlings won’t be representing Alabama in the Dixie Softball World Series.

An Enterprise all-star team ended Hartselle’s five-year string of state titles by pulling out a 12-10 victory in the state championship game in Scottsboro on Monday.

Previously, Hartselle defeated Sand Mountain 14-0, Enterprise 13-6 and Montgomery- American 10-5 before losing a heart-breaking game to Sand Mountain 9-10.

The team bounced back by defeating Sand Mountain 18-5 in a loser’s bracket game before facing Enterprise in the championship game.

“After the tough loss to Sand Mountain on Sunday, we were put in a position I hoped not to be in,” said Hartselle head coach Brandon Dutton. Three teams were left with one loss each and that meant a draw for the bye to the championship game. Unfortunately for us, Enterprise won the bye and we were faced with having to defeat Sand Mountain to reach the final.

“Our girls were ramped up and focused and played their guts out, winning easily. But, as in any level of big game sports, it difficult to keep that level of emotion and focus for a consecutive game after being physically and mentally drained from the previous game. “Enterprise was fresh but we’ll never use that as an excuse. The ball bounced their way a bit more than ours. But our girls fought hard to come back in the bottom of the fifth inning and just fell short by a couple of runs. “

“I’m so proud of this team,” Dutton added. “I really wanted them to experience and say they have played in a World Series but I know as this group stays together, it will have several opportunities to achieve that goal. This group of girls has sacrificed their summer practicing two to three hours a day and has had one of the best attitudes I’ve been a part of in my five years of coaching Dixie softball.”