They didn’t bring home the state championship, but they did bring home the district championship and a sense of pride in their accomplishment.
The King Senior Little League Softball All-Star team was faced with what Steve Booe, assistant coach, described as impossible odds at the state championship in Washington, North Carolina but managed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps to clench the runner up position, with the team from Washington taking home the title.
“You would have thought the girls had won state, because they were jumping up and down,” Booe said of the team’s reaction to its second place finish.
Booe said that “the girls fought hard,” especially considering the fact that several members of the team were sidelined due to injuries. Starting pitcher Megan McClaugherty sustained a line drive just below her ribs and another player was hit by a ball on the inside of the thigh.
“We had several girls hit by the ball, even a girl had to go to get checked out in the emergency room,” Booe said.
Despite the laborious task that faced the girls after several of the injuries, they made the collective decision to keep going after head coach David Bailey asked if they wanted call it quits.
Both the districts and state championships, according to Booe, were played by best two out of three rules. The team competed in districts on July 3 and state on July 9.
For the district championship the girls won their first game, lost the second, and made a comeback winning the third round which ultimately clinched the district championship title for them.
Members of the team range from ages 13 to 16, with the players having practiced five days a week following the end of the traditional season.
Despite all of the hard effort that the players put in, Booe attributes the success to everyone involved, players, parents, coaches and community members. Booe added that moms of the players would even cheer them on from the sidelines, gaining the nickname “Dancing Pom-pom Moms.”
“The girls wouldn’t have gone as far as they did if everyone didn’t give 100 percent,” Booe said.
Aside from the player’s ecstatic reactions to their second place victory at the state championships, Booe said that winning districts was a very poignant moment for him and Bailey, adding that Bailey actually shed tears of joy.
“There were a lot of grown men tearing up out there, it was emotional,” Booe said.