Hartselle 6U Softball All-Stars finish runner-up at USSSA World Series
The future looks bright for softball in Hartselle. For the second time in three seasons, a Hartselle 6U all-star team has finished runner-up in the USSSA World Series.
The team, coached by Mikee Reed, finished the all-star season 18-3. They were 15-0 heading into the World Series held in Orange Beach last week.
“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to coach such a talented group of girls,” said Reed. “We knew that they were going to be an outstanding group, but I’m not sure we knew how elite they would be until they started playing.”
The team opened play with their first loss, 12-4 to the Oklahoma Arrows. After suffering their first loss, they bounced back with a 20-1 win over the Mill Creek All-Stars from Georgia. The win gave the Lady Tigers the No. 3 seed in bracket play.
They opened bracket play Friday afternoon with a 30-9 win over the Spanish Fort All-Stars. The win was the largest win margin for any team in the tournament. The win advanced the Lady Tigers to the winner’s bracket final on Saturday morning and a rematch with the Oklahoma team.
Hartselle controlled much of the game and held an 11-6 lead going into the final inning. Any momentum that the Lady Tigers had gone away following a 15-minute delay over a run in the previous inning. After the delay and a couple of fielding errors, Oklahoma scored six runs to take the win 12-11.
The loss dropped the Lady Tigers into the loser’s bracket and a matchup with the Ellisville All-Stars from Mississippi. Ellisville, playing their fourth game of the day, couldn’t match the hitting of the Lady Tigers who won 21-6. The win set up a rematch with Oklahoma for the World Series Championship.
The Lady Tigers built some early momentum and led after the first inning. But Oklahoma’s defense was strong the rest of the game and held Hartselle in check on their way to an 11-4 win.
The team’s designated pitcher and assistant coach Brian James said that this team was a joy to pitch to. This was James’ second stint as an all-star coach for a Hartselle 6U team. His daughter Finley was on the 2019 team that finished runner-up to Gardendale.
“I’ve seen dozens of 6u all-star teams in recent years and have never seen a harder-hitting bunch,” said James. “They are going to have great futures like the prior Hartselle teams that have had great runs at such an early age.”
“They are solid as they come,” said assistant coach Chad Miller. “They are a special group of girls. They never let anything get them down. They have faced every challenge and killed it.”
“This is a great group of girls that were able to build a cohesive relationship over a 6-7 week span. They were fun to watch!” said assistant coach Leonard Morris. “As good as they were playing, they were even better encouragers for each other. The tradition of Hartselle softball doing great things continued this summer.”
“These past two months will be something they will be able to cherish for a lifetime,” Reed said.