BC team raises funds for trip to state tourneyPublished 5:40pm Saturday, July 13, 2013
Bennett’s Creek Little League had not seen one of its softball teams qualify for a state tournament since 2004. Its 9/10-year-old all-star team became the second to accomplish that feat last week.
While the 11/12-year-old all-star team did it last Wednesday, the 9/10-year-old squad celebrated the fourth of July with a 12-11 victory over a team of Western Branch all-stars to win the Virginia District 6 All-Star Softball 9/10-year-old tourney.
Team manager Bryan Gill said that in all his years of playing sports growing up, he had never seen a team come together like this one.
“Even after the first practice, these girls looked like they’d been together their whole life,” he said.
Formed on June 15, the team not only included members from three regular-season Bennett’s Creek teams, but also two players from the Chesapeake Little League, which did not have enough players to make up its own squad.
“They all came with the same idea of wanting to win, and they’ve just worked really hard as a unit,” Gill said.
Today, the team will look to the community for help in raising the necessary funds to go to the state tourney next week in Lebanon.
They got to this point by going 3-1 in the District 6 event, which was mostly a duel between Bennett’s Creek and Western Branch. BC won its first game over Churchland 27-3, then played Western Branch three times in a row.
First, it won 12-7, then WB returned victorious from the losers’ bracket for a rematch in the championship. Having to beat the Suffolk-Chesapeake hybrid twice to win the tourney, Western Branch got halfway there with a 6-4 win.
Then came the game that would determine everything.
“That one was nerve-wracking,” Gill said. “The girls were a lot calmer than the coaches.”
Western Branch took an early lead, but then Bennett’s Creek came charging back and held a 10-4 advantage. It never gave up the lead, but Western Branch closed the gap.
Bennett’s Creek led 12-11 going into the bottom of the sixth and final inning and got the batters out 1-2-3.
Coach Gill gave a lot of credit to pitcher Madison Wright.
“Our pitcher really held it down,” he said. “It was a total team effort, but that game, I would probably have to give it to our pitcher, because even in the other games, she played shortstop for us, and she was solid on defense.”
Third baseman Paige Breneman came up big on defense, as well.
“Her and Madison, they really locked down the left side of the infield between shortstop and third,” Gill said.
The second-to-last out of the game came when Breneman snagged a rolling grounder and gunned it to first baseman Nyah McNeal.
“It was definitely one of those SportsCenter Top 10-type plays,” Gill said.
He said his team got most of its outs at first base and praised McNeal for her role in that.
Kailey Dorcis, a Chesapeake Little League player, performed well on the mound during the tourney and accounted for the final out of the championship, fielding a grounder and throwing the runner out at second.
“We had one catcher that caught every game for us,” Gill said of Shannon Monahan. “She did a really good job with controlling the game.”
He also praised the outfield’s strong play.
The state tournament begins on July 19, but because it will involve a trip to the opposite side of the state and a multi-night stay, fundraisers this weekend will be vital.
Gill noted that the community came through for the 11/12-year old state qualifiers and encouraged people to support the 9/10-year-old team that will represent BCLL and Suffolk.
“It’s a good chance for them to recognize the girls, first of all, for their accomplishment,” he said. “It’s a big thing to qualify for state, especially at that age.”
The fundraising effort today will feature a car wash from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m. at the Walgreens on Bridge Road. On Saturday, the team had a lemonade stand at the produce market in Driver and a cornhole tourney and raffles at Knot Hole Station.