Southeast Regional begins for All-Stars

Published 7:38 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Washington 12U’s Sarah Lynch drives an RBI single to left against Kinston during the ENC state tournament. The Washington 12U, 10U and 8U All-Stars will be back in action today when they begin the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional at the Sara Law Complex. (Contributed Photo)

This summer has been scorching hot and so has Washington softball as it has placed three teams in the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional, the most in its history.
Last weekend Washington’s 12U and 10U softball teams earned a second place finish in the ENC state tournament in Laurinburg, while its 8U team placed fourth. All three teams will be in action today when the Southeast Regional begins at 9 a.m. at the Sara Law Complex in Winterville.
“This is the strongest season we’ve seen overall,” Washington Girls Fastpitch Softball League president Greg Dority said. “We’ve never had three teams advance to the Southeast Regional. We had two teams come in second at the state tournament and it shows the complete balance that Washington softball brings to the table.”
Dority, who has been president of the WGFSL for six years, attributed Washington’s ever-increasing success to the rise of its pitching.
“We are starting to see our pitching develop earlier and earlier,” Dority said. “Girls like Abby Gail Tucker, Rebekah Williams and Rachel Lang are making all the difference for us when we go up against powerhouses like Pitt County and some of the Florida teams like we’ll see in the Southeast Regional.”
The tournament will swing into action today and start with two days of pool play before the double-elimination portion of the event begins on Friday.
The 8U All-Stars will begin the tournament today at 1 p.m. against Wayne County, a team that edged Washington 12-11 in the second round of the state tournament.
Under the direction of coach E.J. Pazht, the 8Us have a potent lineup capable of giving any team a run for its money.
“E.J. Pazht has put together a solid group of hitters with more power than Washington has had in the past,” Dority said. “It will be a challenge defending and executing the short game in the Southeast Regional but we showed a strong effort against Wayne County and we can compete with anybody.”
The 10U All-Stars will hit the diamond at 9 a.m. today as they face Winter Springs, Fla. The team is coached by Dallis Tucker and is powered by its pitching and defense.
“With Abby Gail Tucker and Summer Campbell on the mound we bring a 1-2 punch that is hard to match,” Dority said. “We’ve got power in the middle (of the lineup) and (on defense) there are not many teams that can steal on us.”
Dority said with a coach like Tucker the 10Us have an instant-advantage.
“The 10U team is the strongest fundamental team defensive-wise and strategy-wise that we’ve ever had,” Dority said. “Dallis Tucker is emerging as the frontrunner in the entire region when it comes to critical-thinking softball. He’s put together some defenses that have really shut down other team’s short game. He’s going to go a long way with this team.”
Like the 10Us, the 12U All-Stars will also begin the regional at 9 a.m. and will take on Brewton, Ala. Guided by coach Seth Edwards, the 12U’s have versatile lineup that is sure to give opposing teams fits.
“In some games the 12U team brings six left-handed hitters to the plate,” Dority said. “We have a remarkable capacity to play small-ball, slap-hitting and bring power with our right-handed sticks.”
Versatile lineups and strong pitching aside, Dority said all three teams should benefit from having a home field advantage.
“The Southeast Regional being in Pitt County is a tremendous advantage for Washington because most of our girls are travel ball players and have played over there,” Dority said. “The main key is our tremendous fan base that we will bring to these games because Washington always has an edge in that area. It will be a very big Southeast Regional for us.”