Washington 8U All-Stars on brink of Babe Ruth World Series

Published 1:02 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2015

NEWBERRY, Fla — The Washington 8U All-Stars sit just one win away from reaching the inaugural Babe Ruth 8U Softball World Series after an impressive performance through the first four days of the tournament.

“The girls are playing like they can play and have as good a chance as anybody,” said head coach Monte Weathington. “They’ve grown since they’ve been here and I think it’s been a positive experience for everybody.”

In pool play, held on Friday and Saturday, Washington outscored its three opponents 47-20, claiming the top seed in the group with a 3-0 record.

Washington defeated Hamilton, N.J., in the tournament opener, 16-6, erasing a three-run deficit with seven-run frames in the third and fourth innings. Peyton Youmans and Melanie Rutledge led the way with two hits apiece, while eight other players had multi-hit performances — Emaleigh Cherry, Tenley Weathington, Addison Miller, Emma Clair Orr, Charlotte Simmons, Zariyah Gorham and Isabella Boykin.

In the closest matchup of pool play, the 8U All-Stars held off a late comeback by Hamburg, Ark., to secure a 7-5 win. Youmans and Rutledge again led the way with three hits each, while Weathington, Miller, Simmons, Gorham and Boykin continued their hot hitting with two hits apiece.

Torrential rain on Saturday didn’t hinder the Washington All-Stars’ bats from posting their second double-digit run total of the tournament, knocking off Starke-Bradford, Fla., 24-9. Washington scored 20 runs in the first inning and every player in the lineup finished with at least one hit. Cherry and Miller led the team with a combined eight hits, while Youmans, Weathington, Rutledge, Mica Lilley, Simmons, Gorham, Jacqueline Gutierez and Rylei Smith all had multi-hit performances.

Washington continued its success in the early rounds of the double-elimination bracket on Sunday, knocking off Normandy, Fla., 13-8, in the first round. Down 3-1, Washington’s offense came alive in the second inning with a seven-run frame. The All-Stars followed it up with another five runs in the third. Youmans and Weathington combined for eight hits on the day, while Rutledge, Miller and Simmons each posted three hits.

In the second round, Washington outslugged Fern Creek to win, 9-6. With Washington up 9-1 entering the bottom of the third, Fern Creek posted five runs, but the game was called soon after due to inclement weather.

When asked if he expected such success in softball’s biggest stage, coach Weathington said, “Honestly, I did. After the way we played through the state tournament, we came down here and expected to win.”

Washington suffered its first loss of the tournament on Monday against Manassas, Va., a 12-5 heartbreaker. After a four-run first inning, Manassas’ defense would control the game and in the fifth, the offense eventually exploded for seven runs, sealing the victory.

Despite the loss, Washington still sits one win away from the Babe Ruth World Series, set for today at 3 p.m. The 8U All-Stars must first defeat Fern Creek, Ky, in the play-in game at 1 p.m. to advance.