Galaxy wins World SeriesPublished 9:59pm Tuesday, August 7, 2012
By Titus Mohler
Galaxy 14U-Black became the first softball team from Suffolk to win the National Softball Association Class A World Series, which took place at the end of July in Spartanburg, S.C.
“The girls had a great run,” head coach Bill Terry said. “It’s pretty impressive.”
The highly competitive double-elimination World Series included 43 teams from 11 different states. Terry began preparing his team for a high caliber of opponent back in the spring.
“In April, we started playing exclusively 16U tournaments just to get them prepped and play a higher level of competition,” Terry said.
In their three previous trips to the tourney, the team finished 13th once and had two top-five finishes, one of which occurred last year when the Ohio Classics 98 knocked them out of the final four.
The Galaxy opened up this year’s event with an easy win, the only easy one they would have. Game two came against a familiar opponent, but the result was different this time. They beat the Ohio Classics 4-2. With this reversal of the result from last year, Coach Terry could see this was a turning point for the girls.
“I saw the look in their eyes,” he said. “It’s like, ‘Hey, we can take this!’”
They went on to beat the Maryland state champions, a squad from Indiana, and then a team from Illinois.
For the right to play in the championship game, they had to beat the other undefeated team in the winners’ bracket — Finesse Black, a team from Michigan.
“They put players at University of Michigan,” Terry explained. “They even have a player that’s on the (USA) national team right now that plays with them.”
The game went into extra innings, but the Galaxy prevailed 8-7. This meant Finesse had to play the top team from the losers’ bracket. Finesse won that game, earning their right to face the Galaxy again for the championship.
Since they lost before, the Finesse would have to beat the Galaxy twice to claim the national crown.
The game was still intense, but the score was not as close this time. Galaxy won 6-0.
Galaxy’s Sydney Gay pitched 43 of 51 innings played in the tourney, but only one strikeout was needed from her in the championship game.
“It was all defense,” Terry said. “And then we had one home run over the center from the championship game, a three run-homer by our catcher Ariele Gent.”
In 51 innings played, the Galaxy limited their number of errors to five.
“Our offense averaged 5.2 runs a game, and the defense gave up 1.2 runs a game,” Terry said.
Coach Terry’s preparation of this group of girls actually dates back several years. Realizing they could not compete with the big-money organizations, Terry helped create a 10U Galaxy team that would train softball players who could grow with the program.
This same group of girls who just won the 14U national championship also claimed the 10U state championship a few years ago.
“And they’ve been with the organization, and that’s kind of what we pride ourselves on is player retention and development,” Terry said.
“Winning the national championship is really once-in-a-lifetime for most players, if you think of all the hundreds of thousands of girls that play softball,” Terry said. “To say you’re on the national championship team is a big deal, but I think they really have a shot at doing something special next year (too) and years to come until they graduate.”
Galaxy tryouts for the 2012-2013 season run through Aug. 11. For more information, visit www.galaxyfastpitch.org.