MILLEDGEVILLE — Capping off a successful weekend of softball at the Baldwin County Recreation Department, the 10 and Under All-Stars won the state championship to lead the County in the tournament.
Baldwin County fielded three teams in the tournament, with the 12 and under girls finishing in the runner-up spot in the Ponytails division and the 8 and under team placing third in the Darlings category, but snagged the Sportsmanship Award for the event.
“Baldwin County Parks and Recreation ran a great tournament. The facilities were great,” Josh Eady, 10 and under head coach, said. “I think the county really put themselves in a good light, so I think this was a good weekend for Baldwin County Parks and Recreation.”
Representing the county well, the 10 and under girls outscored their opponents 59-9 to win the tournament handily with the help of Eady and his assistants Jason Latimer and Werner Bandows.
“I think a level of unknown with this team was there, yes, but I don’t know if it was a surprise,” Eady said. “I think we expected to win, but to play as well as we did may have been a little bit of surprise.”
The team’s biggest struggle came against Columbia County in the play-in for the championship game, which Baldwin won 6-4 with Brayden Latimer pitching a complete game.
Trailing 4-3 with two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Latimer hit a triple to score Bailey Rollins and tie the ball game at four runs, before Cire Foston earned her first ever over-the-fence home run to put the team up two runs and win the game.
“It was as exciting as a 10 and under girls softball game could be, because we had gobs of folks there. It was really the comeback of the century if you ask me,” Eady said. “That’s when I figured out that we might be a team of destiny for this tournament, as far as that goes, when that happened. [Foston] had never hit a home run in her life and she hit an absolute bomb.”
Topping off the weekend, the 10 and under girls earned the State Championship against the defending champions of Jones County 4-0, with Sutton Eady pitching a complete game shutout.
Bella Herring, Rollins, Latimer and Eady all scored runs in the final contest, with Eady leading the team at the plate going 2-2 with 2 RBI.
According to coach Latimer, the win was an overall team effort.
“We faced everybody’s best. I felt like the teams that were there, they pitched their best pitchers against us,” he said. “We were seeded in the bracket so that we faced everybody there, so it wasn’t any cakewalk to get to where we were at. Everybody stepped up to the plate, whether it was hitting, running the bases or fielding.”
Contributing to the team’s offense, Cadence Bandows hit well for the team, while Taylor Prestridge, Anna Kobbe, Peyton Beck and Olivia Ryals all led the team in base running and bunting.
Emma Lewis provided another strong arm for the team’s pitching staff, adding another threat to their opponents.
Though, injured, Dawn Bryan proved to be an inspiration to the girls throughout the tournament.
Overall, coach Eady is pleased with the outcome of the championships, especially the support of the community in the match-up against Columbia County.
“The team really wants to thank the county for all the support, as far as people that came to the game,” he said. “We had a home field advantage for the amount of people we had there cheering for us. We really appreciate all the fan support from the community.”
The Baldwin County 10U All-Stars will represent the county and state of Georgia in the World Series beginning Saturday, July 27 against the Florida State Champions in Petal, Miss.
Donations are being accepted to help cover the traveling expenses and other costs associated with the trip. For more information contact coach Eady at 478-457-5215 or coach Latimer at 478-451-7615.