Softball team state runner-up

Published 4:35 pm Friday, July 17, 2009

The Georgia Recreation and Parks Association (GRPA) District 3 champion Bainbridge Leisure Services Department 14- and under girls Dirt Devil All-Star fast pitch softball team are state runners-up.

They earned state runner-up honors at the July 9-11 GRPA State Tournament in Vidalia.

They won the District 3 championship with earlier 12-2 and 11-1 victories over the Cairo 14 and under All-Stars at Barber Park in Cairo.

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The Dirt Devil All-Stars opened play in Vidalia with a 14-0 victory over the Effingham County All-Stars. Winning pitcher Brittany Simmons hurled four innings, allowed two hits, struck out three and walked just one.

In the first inning, Diamond Bouie, Caitlyn Cato and Brianna Wade all reached on bunts and came around to score. Simpson helped her own cause with a double in the inning as well, while Cato got aboard on a bunt and stole second, third and home.

Morgan Powell, Wade, Kristen Bennett and Simpson all walked and came around to score in the first as well.

The Bainbridge Dirt Devil All-Stars edged the host Vidalia All-Stars 3-2 in their second State Tournament game.

Bennett started the game and hurdled three strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits. She struck out one and allowed two bases on balls.

Simpson came on to pitch in the fourth and went four innings, giving up just one run on three hits and striking out two. Bouie reached on an error and came around to score in the first.

A single to center by Bennett drove in a walking Morgan Powell with the Dirt Devil All-Stars second run in the fourth inning.

With one out and the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Natasha Green hit a line drive to the right center field gap driving in a doubling Jessica Register with the winning run.

In their third game of the double elimination tournament, the Dirt Devil All-Stars suffered their first setback, losing 14-3 to the eventual state champion Wayne County All-Stars.

Brianna Wade walked and came around to score the Dirt Devil All-Stars first run in the third inning, and Bouie and Cato singled and came around to score their final two runs in the fifth.

The Dirt Devil All-Stars edged Lions to 2-1 in their fourth game to earn a rematch with Wayne County in the championship round.

“We lost 18-2 in the championship game, but we played hard,” Dirt Devil All-Star coach Chad Bennett said. “The girls gave 100 percent effort. We had some injuries in key positions. I was honored to have a chance to lead this group of young ladies. They would not quit.”

According to Bennett, this is the second team from Bainbridge to go to a fast pitch state championship game.

“We had solid pitching from Brittany Simpson, Kristen Bennett and Caitlyn Cato,” Bennett said. “We played great small ball, bunting and stealing, and had some hard hits as well.”