Suffolk Smashers ready for Texas-sized softball

Published 9:06 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Suffolk Smashers, from Suffolk Youth Athletic Association, won a Pinto League (8-and-under) PONY National Qualifier Tournament in Deep Creek to advance to the South Zone Fast Pitch Softball Nationals in Round Rock, Tex. next week. The Smashers are Dailey Ellis, Emmi Goodman, Gabby Infranco, Hailey Rountree, Hanna Williamson, Jessica Chang, Jillian McAdoo, Julie Jones, Karley Wetmore, Reese Byrd, Sevanna Cahoon, Sydney Hawk and Toni Jones.

The Suffolk Smashers aren’t done playing softball this summer but they know they’ve made history no one will be able to change.

The Smashers, a Pinto League (8-and-under) all-star softball team from Suffolk Youth Athletic Association, will be the first East Zone Pinto team to travel to Texas for a PONY (Protecting Our Nation’s Youth) National Tournament.

The Smashers will be in Round Rock thanks to great play on the field and some help off the field.

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Suffolk placed second in the Holland Havoc PONY Qualifier and in the Smithfield Summer Blast before winning the Deep Creek National Qualifier Tournament last weekend.

Through the all-star season, the Smashers are 13-2. They rolled through five straight victories at Deep Creek.

The Smashers beat Southern Chesapeake Athletic Association 6-0 in the final, finishing the title by allowing six runs total in the five games.

Pinto softball, just like it’s baseball companion, is coach-pitch, making the Smashers’ defense even more impressive. With a friendly coach doing the pitching, then factor in each team is made up of a league’s all-stars, there are practically no strikeouts and mostly big, hard swings at every pitch. Dealing a shutout means lots of defensive plays with very few errors.

The Suffolk Smashers are Toni Jones, Sydney Hawk, Sevanna Cahoon, Reese Byrd, Karley Wetmore, Julie Jones, Jillian McAdoo, Jessica Chang, Hanna Williamson, Hailey Rountree, Gabby Infranco, Emmi Goodman and Dailey Ellis.

Sixteen recreation league squads will play in the Nationals in Round Rock, Tex. starting Wednesday, July 20.

Off the field, the Smashers have put together fundraisers around town. Firehouse Subs will be the spot for one of them Wednesday evening.

More help’s come from sponsors, parents, parents who are sponsors and even sponsors who aren’t parents.

Step by Step and its president Wendy Fitch is the primary sponsor for the Smashers.

“She really helped us out. She’s very instrumental for getting us to Texas,” said parent David Goodman, Jr., who coaches at SYAA, although not with this squad.

“Wendy and her kids have been involved with Suffolk Youth for many years,” Goodman said.

A lot of the Smashers will move on to travel softball in coming seasons, then most to high school teams and perhaps a couple to collegiate softball, Goodman said, “but some of their first memories of softball will be this trip to Texas. So it’s a big deal. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

The head coach is Wesley Jones. The assistants are Allen Wetmore, Jimmy Byrd and Steve McAdoo.

The team has become a real team in the last few weeks. Wetmore, coach and quite importantly, the team’s pitcher, had his mother pass away last week. The wake was during the weekend, during the tournament in Deep Creek. The whole team came with Wetmore to the wake, still in uniform.

“We’re blessed and fortunate to have this opportunity. We want to represent SYAA and all the rural communities with rec softball,” Goodman said.

The Smashers are playing in a tournament at Southern Chesapeake this weekend before flying out Monday. No matter where the Smashers finish among the 16 teams in Round Rock, “they’re already one of the 16 best teams in the country,” Goodman said.

So winning will be a good goal, but enjoying the experience will be high up there, too.