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Va. Legends finish second at World Series

Playing 12 games in five days, with a 4-0 quadruple-header to stay alive on one day of the tournament, the Virginia Legends 14-and-under travel softball team finished as national runners-up at the NSA Class A World Series in Charlotte, N.C. July 26-30.

The Legends got by teams from Illinois to Florida, but also had to beat a couple local, familiar rivals to get to the final game in Charlotte.

In the elimination bracket, the Legends beat Virginia squads Orion Hunter, 9-8, and the Yorktown Revolution, 4-3.

Yorktown won this season’s NSA state championship. The Legends and Revolution, said Legend head coach Wayne Vick, are rivals, but very respectful rivals because of how often they’ve played each other.

“Even though we beat them, and they were knocked out of the tournament, their parents, coaches and players stayed for our semifinal and final games. It was a pretty impressive show of sportsmanship on their part,” Vick said.

Close games were the norm for the Legends. Out of the 12 games in Charlotte, 10 came down to margins of three runs or fewer. The Legends finished the tourney 9-3 overall.

The Legends split their two pool-play games and beat the Carolina Thunder 8-0 to start out in the championship bracket.

While still fairly early in the tournament, the next game was a critical victory said Vick.

The Legends trailed Charlotte Blaze Black 1-0 when the game was delayed by rain in the fifth inning.

Once the game resumed, the Legends tied the game in the sixth inning. The game went to extra innings, with the international tiebreaker rule in effect, when each half-inning starts with the offense having a runner on second.

The Legends scored four runs and wound up with a 5-2 win.

“That win probably started our momentum and helped us get going throughout the tournament,” Vick said.

The Legends still dropped into the elimination bracket two games later with a loss against a squad from Florida.

The one-run win over Yorktown finished a 4-0 day for the Legends on Thursday, the next-to-last day of the tournament. Each game was an elimination game.

“Every game was really tough and really competitive,” Vick said.

The players got back to their hotel around midnight and were up a few hours later to get back on the field and play the semifinal game.

“It was the first time I’d seen a young group of girls really play for each other,” Vick said. “They had the will to win.”

The Legends pulled out another one-run win, 4-3, over an Ohio team. The Prospects, from Michigan, prevailed with a 3-0 win over the Legends in the championship.

Making the tournament tougher along the way were injuries to a few of the Legend players, Vick said. By the end of the week, some girls were playing positions they had never really played, let alone during an elite tournament.

“When you play that many games in that fashion, it’s mentally draining and physically draining,” Vick said.

The Legends have players from Suffolk, Smithfield, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. Autumn Vick and Jennifer DeLucia go to King’s Fork and Ashley Roten goes to Forest Glen Middle School.

Vick is an instructor at Sluggers in Suffolk. Throughout the past year, his Legend team and the other 14U Legend team have used the indoor batting facility often.

“Our goal is to get our ladies into college. In the last 10 years, all of our seniors have signed to play in college,” Vick said.

His team was together from August 2009 around to the World Series. This whole team moves up to 16-and-under together this fall.