Washington hosts state softball tournaments

Published 4:16 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Softball teams from around the state will converge on the Susiegray McConnell Sports Complex this weekend as the Washington Girls Fastpitch Softball League hosts the Babe Ruth state tournament in five age groups.

League officials plus 40-50 volunteers have been preparing all spring for the event that Washington was supposed to host in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the plans.

“We have a strong organization full of volunteers ready to make it happen,” WGFSL President Beau Daniel said. “The City of Washington crews who take care of the fields do an outstanding job and everybody works well together to make sure these girls have a good experience. It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it.”

Washington will host teams in the 6, 8, 10, 12 and 16u divisions and will have a team participating in all but the youngest group. Pool play begins Saturday and Sunday, which determines the seeding for Monday and Tuesday’s contests.

Daniel said admission is free and the concession stand will be serving hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos and shaved ice along with other treats. Most teams bring tents to provide relief from the heat and the players will have plenty of water in the dugouts.

Washington won the 16u state championship last year and the 8u title in 2015. WHS standout Micah Lilley was on both teams, while Pam Pack teammates Addison Miller, Emma Orr and Peyton Youmans joined her on the 8u title team. All were part of the Pack’s 2022 state 2A runner-up team.

Northside’s Bella Boykin and Emaleigh Cherry, who played in the state finals last month, Melanie Rutledge, who was part of consecutive NCISAA state championship teams at Pungo Christian Academy and Jacqueline Gutierrez, who was a two-time all-conference selection at Southside, were also on the 8u team. Northside’s Kenan Woolard was part of last year’s 16u team, which creates quite a legacy.

“I think it comes back to providing them with good coaches and mentors and their parents are also a big help,” Daniel said. “It’s the age where things start coming together for them and they decide to stick with it. They start to learn how to get along with each other and staying positive when things don’t go their way. It’s great to see those girls grow into successful players and I’m proud that our organization had something to do with it.”