By Tamas Mondovics
This year’s Babe Ruth Softball 12U World Series tourney started out a bit rough for the members of the Bloomingdale Blaze team, but instead of giving up, the girls rallied together and became World Series Champions in Alachua, Fla.
After losing their first pool game to Connecticut, which was also the team’s first loss of the entire season, the team turned things around and lived up to its undefeated status by winning the remaining seven rounds, including the 2-1 title game victory against Pitt County, N.C.
For the success, team coaches and parents give credit to the girls’ unshakable commitment and dedication to achieve their goals, along with their now undisputed ability to rally, regroup and band together, all of which became evident as the team went undefeated for the rest of the tournament.
“Each player on the team contributed at key moments needed both on offense and defense,” said team mom Kimberly Smallwood.
As part of the tourney, individual players were recognized after each game for the Ron Tellefsen “Player of the Game” award that is in recognition of Babe Ruth League, Inc.’s late president and CEO, Ron Tellefsen.
Bloomingdale Blaze players that received awards included Jada Smallwood in game one for her defensive play in diving for a ground ball up the middle and throwing out the runner from her knees. Smallwood also earned the award for defensively having seven put outs and turning a double play in game three.
Lindsey Harper was recognized for offensively helping her team by hitting 2-for-3 in game two.
Recognition for game four went to Ashley Ullom for her pitching efforts of six strikeouts and one earned run in only four innings, while Kacey Fultz also won an award for pitching a no-hitter against Mt. Olive, N.J. in game five.
Emma Cooper was added to the list for her pitching efforts that led to a close win over German-town, Ky. with a final score of 4-3 in game six, and Maddie Droz for offensively hitting 2-for-3 with 2 RBI’s in game seven.
Fultz was again recognized for pitching six innings with two strikeouts and only one earned run in the championship game (game 8).
In addition to winning the title of World Series Champions, additional Babe Ruth awards were given to Bloomingdale players in the following categories:
-Gold Glove/All Defensive Team: Jada Smallwood & Bailee Leistl
-All World Series Team: Emma Cooper, Kaia LoPreste, & Taylor Bryers
-Batting Champion: Taylor Bryers
-Most Outstanding Player of Tournament: Kaia LoPreste
“It’s been a lot of work, but we have been very solid with our pitching and timely with hitting,” said Bloomingdale Blaze Head Coach DJ Pena in an earlier interview as he talked about the girls journey to the World Series.
For more information about the tournament visit www.facebook.com/ BabeRuthSoftballWorldSeries.