Local girls play in World Series

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Members of the Coastal Elite Storm were, from left in front, Kirsten Wuchter, Madison King, Lindsay Russell, Hayley Welch and Sam Harrell; and in back, Coach Amber Shifflett, Coach Helena Byrum, Angel Harrison, Allyson Babinsack, Kayla Harris, Danielle Baccus, Ashley Haydu, Hayley Cooper, Coach Jon King and Coach Mike Russell. SUBMITTED

ORLANDO—The Coastal Elite Storm softball team, which includes two girls with local ties, held true to its nickname in storming through most of its opponents in the United States Specialty Sports Association 16U World Series from July 17-23 in Orlando.

The Storm, which includes team members Kirsten Wuchter, a Southampton County native who recently moved to Suffolk, and Ashley Haydu of Courtland, also draws its roster from Hampton, Virginia Beach and Northeastern North Carolina. The team went 9-0 to win the USSSA World Series and piled up a 69-6 margin in runs scored through the nine victories.

The Storm delivered five shutouts in the tournament. Through the first five contests, no opponent stayed within eight runs of the Coastal Elite Storm.

When the World Series was down to the top teams in the last rounds, though, the Storm three of the last four games in low-scoring, one-run games, including a 3-2 win over Sidewinders White of Alabama in the semifinals and a 2-1 win over the Kentucky Rockers in the championship game.

The Storm qualified for the USSSA World Series through a number of championship and runner-up finishes in other tournaments this season, said Helena Byrum, one of the Storm’s coaches. The World Series, played at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex, was actually the first USSSA event for the club though.

The season goes all the way back to last August, with a fall slate of tourneys running through November before winter conditioning, then a break, for softball.

“During the high school season, high school coaches won’t allow their players to play travel ball as well during the season,” Byrum said.

So the conditioning season runs up to high school play, starting in February then the Storm picks back up again in June.

“Then we’re playing somewhere every weekend in June and July,” Byrum said.

The tournaments earlier in the summer were fairly close to home in Virginia and North Carolina.

The big goal is lots of games. Then winning trophies and the World Series are very nice prizes, too. The Coastal Elite Storm is 79-14 overall going back to August.

The Coastal Elite Storm is Allyson Babinsack, Heather Baccus, Haley Cooper, Samantha Harrell, Kayla Harris, Angel Harrison, Ashley Haydu, Madison King, Lindsay Russell, Hayley Welch and Kirsten Wuchter.