Hartselle 6U All-Stars win USSSA state championship
The Hartselle 6U All-Stars achieved their goal Saturday night in winning the USSSA State Championship. The win didn’t come easy as they had to battle out of the loser’s bracket, wait out three rain delays, change parks and defeat the same team twice.
“There was a lot of well-coached teams with great talent in the tournament,” coach Erick Brenner said.
Hartselle started off the tournament with a 14-3 win over the team from Morris Friday morning.
The win gave Hartselle the rest of the day off to get ready for their eight match-ups in the last four weeks with the Decatur All-Star team. Hartselle would advance with a 19-1 win over Decatur to set-up a winner’s bracket final with Gardendale.
Hartselle’s first game of the day was with an undefeated Gardendale team. Gardendale won the game by a 15-14 score as they came from behind for the win. The loss knocked Hartselle into the loser’s bracket.
“We took a tough loss, but our coaches and girls never stopped believing in this team,” Brenner said.
Their first game in the loser’s bracket came against the Odenville All-Stars. They took control of the game from the start in route to a 21-1 victory. The game was delayed for almost an hour due to rain and lightning delay. The win set-up a rematch with Gardendale. Hartselle would need to defeat Gardendale twice to win the state championship.
“We regrouped and beat a great Odenville team to get to the championship to face Gardendale again,” Brenner added.
Hartselle completely dominated the first game as they won 16-0 to force a winner take all game for the championship.
The second game would determine the state champion but it would not be easy for either team. The teams had to battle more weather delays plus a change of location. Due to field conditions, the teams were forced to move from Warrior Park in Alabaster to the Eagle Sports Complex in Calera.
The two teams played their hearts out as they battled for the state championship. Hartselle held on to a 14-13 lead heading into the final inning of play. The girls from Hartselle scored three runs in the top of the inning to give them a four-run cushion as Gardendale came to bat. After the home team scored a run to make it 17-14, Hartselle’s defense shut the door on the Gardendale comeback. After Gardendale got the next two runners on base the next hitter lined out to Hartselle’s pitcher who then made a throw to first base to complete a double play as the Gardendale runner was caught off base. Hartselle would go on to make the final out and the championship was theirs.
“Our team has worked hard to get to where we are, and giving up is not an option. We had a lot of momentum on our side and won the first game 16-0, but with the 4 rain delays and having to move to a different sports complex in the second game it took a toll on both teams,” Brenner said. “But our girls made several big plays at the end of the game to hold on to a 17-14 win.”
Hartselle will now take a couple of weeks off before heading to Gulf Shores to play in the USSSA World Series the week of July 9-13.
They are trying to raise some funds that will help with their travel expenses to the USSSA World Series in Gulf Shores. Donations to their trip can be made by contacting Michelle at 256-750-2277 or emailing email@example.com.