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Future is bright for 9-10 all-stars, coach says

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By Jeff Moreland

Washington County’s 9-10-year-old all-star team worked hard and learned a lot, despite winning one game and losing two in the district tournament at Columbia over the weekend.

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The all-stars opened tournament play Saturday with a 13-3 loss to Russell County. Despite a tough day offensively, Washington County did pick up the pace at the plate in the third inning, scoring three runs on three hits and a batter being hit by a pitch. Ava Abell got things started with a single, and Indaria Spalding was hit by a pitch and later scored the team’s first run on a hit by Rachel Smith. Abby Warner reached on a fielder’s choice, and she and Smith would both score on a hit by Sarah Boblitt, who handled the pitching duties for Washington County.

Russell County’s offense was too much in the end, as it added a run in the bottom of the third, three in the fourth inning and another in the fifth to seal the game.

Boblitt struck out seven Russell County batters on the day.

Sunday was a better day, and Washington County found itself on the other end of the spectrum, this time picking up an 8-3 win over Adair County.

After going quietly in the first inning, Washington County put four runs on the board in the second inning, then added two more in the third and another pair in the fifth.

Boblitt opened the second inning with a triple and later scored when Spalding, Hannah Hale and Alexis Burton each reached on errors. A single by Abby Brady drove in the fourth run of the inning, and the Washington County offense was rolling. The third inning saw two quick outs for Washington County, but the scoring wasn’t over. Spalding reached on an error and Hale and Burton each drew a base on balls, and two more runs scored on errors by Adair County, making it 6-2.

Washington County tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to seal the deal behind runs scored by Warner and Boblitt.

Boblitt went back to the field and struck out two of the three batters she faced in the sixth inning for the win. She finished the day with 13 strikeouts.

In the final on Monday evening, Washington County was back up against what they knew to be a tough foe in Russell County.

The game ended after three innings with Russell defeating Washington 19-2. Boblitt and Spalding had the lone hits in the game for Washington County, which drove in Smith and Warner for the team’s only runs.

Darrell Hale, head coach of the team, said he enjoyed working with the team, and he added that he saw a lot of growth from the girls in a short time.

“They came a long way. They’re young and had a short time to practice. Within a week of practice and three games, they came a long way, and I’m very proud of them. I think they’ll be fine,” Hale said after Monday’s game.

He added that all of the girls worked hard, and he said Emma Smith provided some very solid defense at third base, while Boblitt performed well while pitching, as well as at the plate.

“Defensively, Emma Smith controlled the ball at third, and Indaria Spalding had a couple of hits for us. Sarah (Boblitt) did really well with her hitting and her pitching performance. She pitched every pitch of the tournament and was really a workhorse for us,” Hale said.

Hale added that he sees good things in the future for the members of his team, and for the future of softball in Washington County.

“They are 9 and 10-year-old kids, and when they get to be 11 and 12, there will be a difference in them. We all enjoyed this summer, and these kids, the way they played in 90-some degree heat, it’s really tough on them. But they played through it and played hard.”