‘I was not a home-run hitter, but …’

Published 5:18 pm Thursday, October 8, 2020

Softball player remembers county team


By Betty Worrell Darden


The Southampton County Girls’ Softball Team formed in 1952. The teams consisted of teams from Newsoms, Capron, Drewryville, Ivor, Courtland and Sedley. This is my story.

Seventh Grade and High School

My first organized softball team began when I was in the seventh grade at Newsoms High School. Leroy Dail was my coach with Reba Collier Thorpe as his assistant. I was the youngest team player, and they put me in center field because I could run fast and could catch anything that came nearby me.

I remained on the team during my entire high school career. The highlight of my seventh grade year was when the teacher, Mrs. Dave Tom Drake, complimented me on making the high school team.

We always had a winning team seventh grade through 11th grade, mainly because of our two pitchers: Anne Everett, my cousin, and Betty Jean Vick, both of whom could throw the ball faster than any boy in high school.

Oh, I had my share of singles and walks. My batting average was over 400, but I never hit a home run the five years I was on the team.

For two years at Louisburg College, my playing came to a halt when I enrolled at East Carolina University. The girls did not have a team except practicing for fun after class. I tried to hit a long ball, but I did not hit a home run during those four years either.

Union Camp

The spring and summer I helped organize a girls’ softball team while working for Camps in Franklin. Our players composed of girls working there. We could not find a pitcher, so I recruited my neighbor, Betty Jean Vick, who could throw a fastball equal to Anne Everett.

That year I had a first real glove which I used until I retired in 1985.

Still no home runs for Camps.

Southampton County Girls’ Softball Team

The Southampton County Girls’ Softball team was organized in the 1970s; I took a

decade off until my teenagers and babies came.

At that time, I put on a Newsoms team uniform of green and white. Locals included three Bryants (Cynthia, Diddle and Carol Anne), Lynda Updike, two sisters Terry Ann and Betty Lynn Johnson, two sisters, Pam and Nannette Brett, Gwen Matthews, Betty Jean Vick Everett, Frances Bunn and Cheryl Edwards. Amy Carr from Boykins joined our team. They were our home run hitters, but not me!

Once I thought I had hit a home run. I hit a line drive past the third baseman and into left field. As I rounded third base, the left fielder raised both arms, indicating that she could not find the ball. The umpire, Ralph Ivey, waved me back to third base. The ball was later found by some children beyond the left field fence in a cluster of tall grass and weeds. So much for my home run!

Later, Betty Jean formed a team of young players from the Capron area.

In 1985, the Southampton County Girls’ Softball team folded due to lack of active teams. At my age of 55, I guess it was time for me to fold too.

My playing days were over that year 1985.

Still no home runs for me even after all those years of enjoyment.

I will leave a ball and my old leather glove to my great-grandson, James Cooper Corbin. Maybe he will get the home run for me.


BETTY WORRELL DARDEN began writing for the Statesville News in 1947 when she was a senior in high school. She continued writing for The Tidewater News until the mid-2000s — more than 50 years.