Hartselle brings home city's first title in 20 years
By By Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The second time turned out to be a charm for Hartselle ‘s Dixie Darlings as they swept through the competition without a defeat to capture the 7-8 division of the Dixie World Series Tournament in Pineville, La.
Representing Alabama, the Hartselle All-Stars came from behind to eliminate once-beaten Louisiana 12-8 in the finals August 6. In earlier games they defeated Virginia 18-4, Texas 17-6. Tennessee 8-4 and South Carolina 24-3. For the tournament they scored 79 runs to 25 for their opponents and in 16 post season games outscored their opponents 290-70.
Winning a World Series title was a first for a 7-8 Hartselle softball all-star team and the first for any age division team in over 20 years. To commemorate the achievement, the team received a large trophy and a championship banner Each player received a medal and an individual trophy. The trophy and banner along with a team photo will be displayed at Sparkman Civic Center.
The Hartselle team grabbed a 3-2 lead after the first inning and extended their advantage to 7-3 in the second inning on the strength of an inside-the-park home run by Carrie Hanners. However, they trailed for the first time in the tournament after Louisiana scored five times in the top of the third inning and went ahead by a score of 8-7.
In the top of the fifth inning, Hartselle’s Maggie Anderson led off with a double and came home on a double by Jordan Finn to tie the score at 8-8. Megan Zuck singled and Finn advanced to third. Then La’ninya Wigging stepped to the plate and smashed a home run over the center field fence to give her team an 11-8 lead. To add insult to injury Brooklyn Wallace doubled and scored on a single by Josie Halbrooks to make the score 12-8.
Hartselle’s defense proved to be up to the challenge in the bottom of the fifth and final inning as they retired Louisiana on three infield outs.
The victory was sweet revenge for five of the team’s players who were members of a 2007 Hartselle team that went into the finals undefeated only to lose two consecutive games to Louisiana. The second year World Series all-stars are Kenzie Parker, Wallace, Wiggins, Zuck and Ragen Martin.
The celebration after the game culminated with a pool party at the motel where the team and parents stayed.