Hartselle 6U All-Stars finish runner-up in World Series

The Hartselle 6U All-Stars participated in the 2019 USSSA World Series and came home with a runner-up finish following their week-long stay in Gulf Shores.

The team put in about two weeks of practice following winning the state championship June 22. The girls had their final practice in Hartselle July 5 before each of the families left for south Alabama.

“The World Series was a whole new experience for our team; the girls had so much fun with the individual competitions and opening ceremonies,” said head coach Erick Brenner. “It was a hard loss to take in, especially when we were so close to winning, but to say I’m proud of our team is an understatement. It has been an honor to coach such a talented and special group of girls. I will never forget this team and all they have accomplished.”

The girls started off the week participating in the Skilled Event Competition. Each competed in the Home Run Derby, Catcher’s Throw Down, Bunting Challenge, Base Running Challenge and the Around the Horn Competition. 

When the competition ended, the team had nabbed eight of the nine trophies awarded. 

Trophy winners were:

  • Home Run Derby: 1st place Haley Peek and 2nd place Aurora Brenner
  • Catcher’s Throw Down: 1st place Emma Clark
  • Bunting Challenge: 1st place Emma Clark
  • Base Running Challenge: 1st place Scarlett LeCompte 
  • Around the Horn Competition: 1st place Bella Meadows, Aurora Brenner, Finley James and Scarlett LeCompte, and 2nd place Haley Peek, Josie Guyse, Ally Easter and Mary Blythe Lusk

They opened play Wednesday morning and made everyone take notice of the girls from Hartselle as they defeated the West Mobile All-Stars 32-6 in their first pool game. 

In their second game of the day, the girls picked up where they left off in the first game and defeated Spanish Fort 20-0.  

They finished pool play by outscoring their opponents 52-6 and were the No. 1 seed heading into bracket play Thursday.

Their first game in bracket play was a rematch with Spanish Fort, which as the No. 9 seed defeated Semmes 17-4 to advance. The Hartselle girls’ bats continued to be on fire as they defeated Spanish Fort 25-2. The win gave the Hartselle girls the rest of the day off before they would an 8 a.m. game against the No. 5 seed Wetumpka All-Stars Friday morning.

Hartselle arrived at the field at 7 a.m. ready to make a day of it at the ballfield. The girls opened up their day in another dominating performance, defeating Wetumpka 29-8. The victory placed the Hartselle All-Stars in the winners’ bracket finals against a familiar foe: Gardendale, which defeated Hartselle 21-11 to put the girls in the losers’ bracket.

Hartselle met up with the Trussville All-Stars in the loser’s bracket final. Trussville took an early lead but couldn’t hold it, as the girls from Hartselle battled from behind to defeat Trussville 18-16. The win set up the World Series final against Gardendale.

In Hartselle’s fourth game of the day, the girls took revenge on Gardendale, defeating them 15-2 to set up a winner-take-all final game of the tournament.

In the final game Gardendale took an early 6-2 lead over the Lady Tigers. Hartselle battled back to take an 8-6 lead heading to the fourth inning. Gardendale then scored eight runs to take a 14-7 lead with time running out in the game. 

Hartselle came to bat in the bottom of the fourth with six minutes on the clock. The girls would need to score seven runs, or the game would be over. They did just that, scoring seven to force extra innings.

Gardendale, the visiting team, batted first and scored three runs to take a 17-14 lead. Hartselle came to the plate needing three – and scoring three. The girls had the winning run on third but couldn’t get her across the plate. 

Gardendale took the lead by scoring seven runs in the top of the sixth inning. The Hartselle girls came to bat knowing they would need to score seven runs to stay in the game. Hartselle scored one run in the bottom of the inning, giving Gardendale the victory.

“On the surface, it sounds heartbreaking to be 60 feet away from winning the World Series only to lose in extra innings,” said assistant coach Brian James. “But oddly enough, it was one of the easiest losses I’ve ever been a part of due to how proud we all were of the girls leading up to that moment and how much respect we had for Gardendale.

“I think we all knew before the tournament started that it would come down to these two teams because they had separated themselves so much from the pack this summer.”

Wednesday night the team participated in the Opening Ceremonies, which were rained out the night before. During the event, the team got to cheer on one of their coaches, Jason LeCompte, who was chosen for the lip-sync competition. LeCompte put on a show for the girls and the other teams with his lip-sync abilities and dance moves.

“They battled harder than any 6/7-year-old should ever have to,” said LeCompte. “They were literally one hit away or one out away from winning several times in that final game. I’m excited to see what their future holds.”

The Hartselle All-Stars have played six games with the all-stars from Gardendale.  Each team won three games, with Hartselle defeating Gardendale twice for the state championship and Gardendale winning twice for the World Series championship. In their six games, Hartselle outscored Gardendale 91-73.

“What a great experience and honor it has been to be a part of coaching this team,” said assistant coach John Peek. “These girls are so talented, and I am so proud of each one of them.”

The Hartselle All-Stars offense scored 106 runs in their first four games of the World Series while allowing 16 runs. The girls’ average game score was 26.5 to 4 in those first four games. 

Even though they finished as runner-up in the World Series, the Hartselle 6U All-Stars finished the 2019 season as the top-ranked 6U Rec/All-Star team in the country. They finished with a 23-4 record. They outscored their opponents 523-177, according to the USSSA website.

“A lot of sweat and time went into this postseason, but I think our entire softball family enjoyed it all and would tell you that it was well worth it,” said James.

The girls, coaches and parents would like to thank everyone for their support as they played for the World Series championship. They said they appreciate everything the community has done for them, from the kind words to the donations to make their trip possible.

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