12U, 10U teams dominate state tourney
In the Alabama Parks and Recreation Association state youth softball tournament, two Russellville teams really showed their stuff.
The 12U girls took first place in the tournament, and the 10U girls, who last year were the 8U champs, came in second place in the double-elimination tournament.
The 12U girls, coached by Brian Pace, Joey Rushing, Jennifer Pace and Chad Whitfield, went undefeated in their division against nine other teams, staying in the winners’ bracket throughout the tournament, which was held in Gadsden.
Rushing said the girls outscored their opponents by ten or more runs each game with the exception of the first game, 5-3. When playing that team again in the finals Sunday, Russellville won ten to zip. “We were very proud of our team to say the least,” Rushing said. “Obviously they were really ready to go, and they were able to win every game and do so very convincingly.”
Rushing added, “The fact that we’ve had such success at this level is very positive for the future of Russellville softball.”
The 12U team included Katie Brooke Cummings, Tori Tiffin, Christian McGlaughn, Kaitlyn Speck, Jenna Whitfield, Leah Rushing, Chalea Clemons, Anna Beth Oliver, Gracie Patterson and Summer Butler.
“All the parents and coaches were very proud,” Rushing said. “For some of these girls, this is the second time they have won this tournament,” – winning three years ago as 8U, as well.
For the 10U girls, coached by Ralph Parrish, Brad James, Jeremy Campbell, Alf Welborn and Darren Vinson, this year was a slight step back compared to last year, taking second place as compared to last year’s first place finish.
“They did great,” Parrish said. “The thing that was pretty neat is, this is the 10U state tournament, and every girl will be back next year. We won’t lose one girl.”
The team won Friday night, only played half a game Saturday because of rain and had to play five games, four of them back-to-back, Sunday – in 100-degree heat.
“They just kept playing, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Parrish said. “They’re a tough, scrappy bunch.”
Team members included pitchers Katelyn Vinson, Paislee James and Hannah Borden; strong hitters Peyton Parrish, Melissa Aparisio, Emily McGaughy and Natalie Nichols; and defensive players, Emma Campbell, Zoie Castille and Macey Welborn.
“They are determined. They’re learning how to work hard,” Parrish said. “They learn to persevere and stick something out and play hard … I think it says a lot about their parents too.”
The team also finished 7th in USSSA state tournament out of 26 teams.
The 10U and 12U coaches thanked the Russellville Parks and Rec Department, which pays for tournament fees for the teams.
“There’s been a lot of success for both these groups of girls,” Rushing said.