COMING HOME: Belles end third visit to World Series in second round of play against South Carolina, 12-9
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, August 5, 2015
After a long, successful run through the summer schedule the Belles season came to a close Monday afternoon after falling to Louisiana 11-0 and South Carolina 12-9 in the Dixie Girls World Series being held in West Monroe, La.
“We didn’t play the way we were capable of playing,” said Belles head coach Larry Sanders. “We made errors on routine plays and didn’t hit the ball the way we are capable of hitting.”
After running through the their previous three tournaments with only one loss heading into the World Series tournament, the Belles were forced to sit and wait for the start of the World Series for nearly three weeks while the other teams were still finishing up their state tournaments.
The long lay off for the Belles may have let the rust-factor play a part on what was usually a dominating offensive ball club.
“We weren’t able to keep playing and carry over the momentum we built up during the State Tournament,” Sanders said. “We were flat coming out, and we are a lot better than what we showed. We didn’t execute when we had the opportunity. You can’t make errors, and you have to be able to hit when the opportunities come.”
The Belles have represented the State of Alabama at the World Series the last three years, and this season the Belles were able to win their way through their tournaments with just the one loss. The Belles began practicing in late May and really continued to come together as a team throughout the summer.
“It’s been a great summer. They have really played well all summer long,” Sanders said. “I get to watch these girls play school ball and then be able to watch them play rec ball. They have really improved, got older and stronger.”
With the three consecutive trips to the World Series the Belles are no strangers to making long road trips to tournaments or playing in the hot summer sun. But, even though they have been through all of it before, Sanders believes that the friendships they continued to forge will stick with them for many years.
“They have bonded as a group and have had a great time. A lot of them go to different schools but it brings their bonds even closer,” Sanders said. “We have four maybe five different schools represented. They have friends at each school, and they are like sisters.”
Sanders and his coaching staff will look back at all the hard work the players put in to get them to where they were in their third-straight World Series.
“All the hard work the girls have put in it is something we will take away from this,” Sanders said. “During these trips we have been able to make a lot of memories with these girls. We had a good time with the girls on the way out there as well as on the way home. We get to build special bonds with these girls, and they will last with us for a long time.”
All but two girls are eligible to come back next year and try to lead Troy to their fourth straight appearance in the World Series. Along with Sanders, the girls will reflect on this summer and decide their plans moving forward and decide whether to come back for another season.