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Hartselle Enquirer

8u Vipers win USSSA National Championship

The 8U Birmingham Vipers battled from the loser’s bracket to win the 2021 USSSA National Championship in Fort Walton, FL.

The 8U Vipers, based in Hartselle, have eight girls who started their softball careers in the Hartselle Rec League. They were part of a 6U All-Star team that won the 2019 USSSA State Championship.

They entered the tournament with a 46-8 record and the top seed in bracket play.

They opened with a 12-4 win over Riot2K12 after receiving a bye to the second round. However, they lost 7-4 to Fury 12 in the winners’ bracket semifinals. The loss dropped them into the losers’ bracket and set up a long and grueling day on Friday.

Their first game in the losers’ bracket was a 10-4 win over American Elite. The win set up a matchup with an all-too-familiar Birmingham Mustangs. The Mustangs have two players from Hartselle, Finley James and Haley Peek, and coach Brian James. 

The Vipers defeated the Mustangs 7-6 to advance to the losers’ bracket finals. They met up with the Alabama Thunderbolts in the finals, another team with whom the Vipers are very familiar.

It was the Vipers who prevailed, winning 15-7 to advance to the Championship series.

In the Championship series, the Vipers got their rematch with the Fury 12, who played their second game of the day while the Vipers were playing their fourth of the day and third in a row. 

The Vipers got their revenge as they defeated Fury 12 11-7 to force a winner-take-all championship game. The Vipers completed their comeback with a 3-2 win for the National Championship.

The team is coached by Erick Brenner, Derrick Meadows, Jeff South, Jason LeCompte, and Jeremy Penny.

The players are Ally Easter, Ava Gillespie, Bella Meadows, Maccie Tillman, Caroline Vines, Lillie Ward, Stevie South, Maddie Penny, Scarlett LeCompte, Aurora Brenner, Maci Vest, and Emma Clark.