Young All-Stars keep a clear head on their way to state

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 18, 2002

When she and her team head to St. Paul today to prepare for state competition, Mallory Patterson won’t be very nervous. &uot;I’m just going to try to pitch the same way that I did when we played at District 6,&uot; said the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy student, who pitched her 9-10 Bennetts Creek softball All-Star team to victory in their 10-0 victory over Olive Branch in the district semifinals on July 3. &uot;But state’s going to be a bigger challenge.&uot;

Anna Cain, another All-Star hurler, doesn’t expect any inner tension should she have to take the mound. &uot;I don’t think I’ll be nervous because I pitched at the districts,&uot; she said. &uot;But when I’m batting, I know their pitchers will be throwing a little bit harder than they did during the districts.&uot;

If the district tournament was any indication, the youngsters are as ready as a team can be; they outscored their opponents 38-4 in three consecutive victories, defeating Wilson and Olive Branch. Tina Parker, who drove in several of those runs, is anxious to show her batting skills at state.

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&uot;Hitting is our team’s biggest strength,&uot; said Parker, a student at King’s Fork Middle School. &uot;The teams we play at state will be harder than the one’s at district, but I’m excited, because I think our team is good enough to go all the way.&uot;

Kelsey Ritter will be banging out the hits as well. &uot;My dad’s been teaching me how to hit since I was five,&uot; said the nine-year-old NSA student, whose father Steve helps coach the All-Stars.

&uot;He taught me how to hold the bat and follow through.&uot;