Southampton 14U all-stars rout older foes

Published 6:44 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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The Southampton County Girls’ Softball 14U All-Star Team had been together for less than a month and was facing established teams with older players at the SCAA Summer Slam Softball Tournament in July, but it didn’t matter.

The local girls outscored their competition 55-5 across four games en route to winning the tournament championship.

“It was an awesome group of young ladies that we had playing, and they were easy to work with,” said Southampton 14U All-Star Team Head Coach Brent Edwards, of Newsoms.

The girls were selected to the all-star team by the Southampton County Girls’ Softball Committee, which drew players from the five communities that had teams in the county league this year — Capron, Ivor, Newsoms, Sedley and Wakefield. 

Edwards said the 14U all-star team was together for “about three-and-a-half weeks, had four practices, and then we played ball.”

This allowed for significantly less prep time as a team than some of the other squads competing in the Summer Slam Tournament.

“Some of these teams have been playing together the whole year,” Edwards said. 

The Southern Chesapeake Athletic Association tourney included teams from across the southeastern Virginia region, and travel ball teams were allowed to participate this year.

There was no dedicated 14U age bracket, so Southampton’s 14U all-stars had to compete in the 14/16 age category, which featured seven teams, including some that were true 16U squads.

Southampton’s team was a true 14U group that was composed of 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds and a few girls who had turned 15 after the first of the year.

Edwards noted that his team was large for an all-star squad, featuring a roster of 14 players.

“But the coaching staff made it work out real good where everybody got to bat, everybody got to play and did real good,” he said, praising Assistant Coach Kevin Benson, of Sedley, and Carl Ogburn, of Newsoms. “It was all-around a good time just considering the amount of girls that we had, to be able to play and do what we did.”

What the team did was dominate.

In game one, the Southampton 14U all-stars recorded an 18-2 blowout victory.

Team officials noted that the opposing team’s coaches awarded Southampton pitcher Claire White the game’s MVP award due to her impressive work in the circle.

“I didn’t have any doubt we would be good, and when I’d seen them play early on Saturday, I had no concerns after I saw them play one time,” Edwards said of his team.

Next, the local girls put together a 16-1 win in which catcher Kaylee Hill earned MVP honors as a result of her excellence behind the plate.

In light of their big victories, the Southampton squad entered the single-elimination portion of the tournament as the No. 1 seed, advancing directly to the semifinals.

In that round, Southampton pitcher Zoe Banks allowed zero hits and zero runs during her time in the circle, helping her team register a 9-2 win, which put the local girls in the final.

“In the championship game, we were playing a true 16U team,” Edwards said. 

Nevertheless, the game, which could go as many as seven innings in regulation, was over in three innings due to the mercy rule — the Southampton 14U all-stars won 12-0.

Reflecting on his team’s success across the tournament, Edwards said, “We had dominant pitching with Claire White and Zoe Banks. We just had dominant pitching with those two girls, and our defense and hitting was just something unreal. It was just awesome.”