Trio of Troy youth softball teams heading to the World Series
Published 11:36 am Thursday, July 27, 2023
This week, a total of three softball teams from Troy’s Recreation League will be playing in the Dixie Youth Softball World Series.
This is the second consecutive year that the City of Troy has sent three teams to the World Series.
“We had three last year. That was the first time we had three softball teams go,” Troy Parks and Recreation Director Dan Smith said. “Our softball program for girls is just really strong right now and we’re super proud of them. Also, our staff puts in a lot of work into all of our programs year round to ensure we have quality leagues and programs and facilities. I just cannot say enough about the staff.”
Troy Parks and Recreation Assistant Director David Dickey echoed Smith’s thoughts.
“We are very proud of these girls,” he emphasized. “We have a good group of girls that have been coming up through the system the last couple of years. We had three girls’ teams that went to the World Series in softball last year and three again this year.
“So, the future is looking very bright. We also have a good group of coaches in all these age groups. We still look for good things to come in the future and I won’t be surprised if we send three next year. We’re very proud of them and wish them the best of luck this weekend.”
The Troy 6U Sweetees will be competing in the Dixie Softball 6U World Series in Alexandria, La., beginning on July 28, after winning a state championship. 6U Coach Will Starling said he’s been proud of the way his team worked all season.
“It’s not easy for a 6-year-old to go out there and practice for two hours three to four days a week,” Starling said. “I have been really proud of them and we have a really good group. Those girls get along really well and we have a really good group of parents, too. I’m just proud of the whole ordeal.”
Starling wants the World Series experience to be a great one for his team.
“There is a fine line, you can’t be a drill sergeant to 6-year-olds,” he said. “We’re going all the way to Alexandria, La., to win it but we want the best experience possible for our girls and our families. That’s the biggest thing. I tell people all the time, you have to be able to give them a hug when they’re six. They have to know you love them but we also want to teach (the game) the right way.”
The Troy 8U Darlings also won their state championship and will be playing in the Dixie 8U Softball World Series in Fairview, Tenn., beginning on Saturday, July 29.
“They played well enough to win but we’re better than the way we played,” 8U Assistant Coach Tom Smith said of the state tournament. “I think the biggest thing for me is that I want to see them have fun (at the World Series) and, of course, we want to win because winning is fun, but I want us to have fun and make memories. This is something they’ll probably remember forever.”
Smith said that the majority of his team has already made it to a World Series in a younger age group but he wants them to continue making memories, especially for those that are there for the first time.
The Troy 13-15 Belles won their state tournament and are also headed to Alexandria, La., to compete in the Dixie 15U Softball World Series this weekend.
“I’m really proud of them,” Belles Coach Terry Garrett said. “They hit well (at the state tournament) and they made the plays they needed to. They did really great.
“I just want to see clean ball, the same thing (at the World Series). Make the plays that they give us and represent our city with class and represent our city with effort. That’s the biggest thing.”
With three different age groups representing Troy in the World Series for the third consecutive year, Smith emphasized that it would pay dividends for high school softball programs in the future.
“We know that it’s very important that the local league level in recreation prepares these young ladies for what lies ahead,” Smith said. “The fundamentals of girls fast pitch softball are unique and in many ways, different than baseball. A lot of the daddies have never played fast pitch softball, so it’s a credit to them for the training and learning they’ve gone through to help prepare these girls.
“We hope that the local schools, by the time they get to the level, will have players that have learned a great deal of the fundamentals and are better prepared to play.”
Garrett agreed with Smith’s assessment.
“That’s all I’ve concentrated on the last 5-6 years of my life through softball,” Garrett said. “It’s not just about getting out their and playing ball but it’s about helping the community and the local schools like Pike Lib, Charles Henderson, Goshen, Zion Chapel, Ariton and (Pike County).
“I think that’s what the rec system is all about and even going outside the rec system, I think that’s what travel ball is about. It’s about bettering these young ladies in the Troy community, and when I say the Troy Community I’m including all of those kids from all of those schools. Our team consists of kids from all of those schools and that’s what we’re representing here.”