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This summer will be forever marred by memories of the cowardly burn-and-run actions of what appears to be an ax-to-grind arsonist.
The late-summer burning of the Lancaster County Courthouse and an ensuing fire at the nearby solicitor’s office will be the major headlines when this dark period is revisited in years to come.
On a much more positive note, the effort of some Lancaster County youngsters at nearly the same time as the fires provided us something to be proud of this summer.
The Lancaster County Dixie Ponytails all-star softball team and Lancaster Dixie Baseball AAA all-stars carried the banner of the Red Rose City and Lancaster County in a positive way.
The Ponytails stars, ages 11-12, played in the World Series in Pineville, La., after winning the state championship in Sumter.
The Lancaster AAA all-stars, ages 9-10, earned a bid to the Dixie Youth AAA World Series in LaGrange, Ga., following an unbeaten state title run.
Each team left Lancaster representing South Carolina in hopes of capturing the coveted World Series championship. Each fell short of the big prize, but not for lack of effort.
The Ponytails stars went 2-2 in the double-elimination tournament. They fell in game one, but rebounded nicely on day two to capture two straight wins. They were eliminated in game four, halting their diamond drive. The Ponytails placed sixth in the 12-team field.
“These girls played hard and did a good job of representing Lancaster and Lancaster County,” said Lancaster Ponytails all-star coach Rick Sims. “They drew a great deal of praise from other teams and coaches for the way they played and acted during the games.”
The same was true for the Lancaster Dixie Baseball AAA stars. They went out in two series games, but gave good effort and displayed good sportsmanship in the face of defeat.
“We didn’t play to our potential and lacked the edge we had in the state tournament when we won the state championship, but these players made us proud because they gave good effort and never gave up,” said coach Mike Lucas.
We also must remember the teams earned World Series bids as state champions – the state’s best.
As time passes on, we will sadly recall the early morning fires and the ugly scenes which daylight revealed. At the same time, we must step back to take in the big picture.
There was good in this summer, which won’t soon fade from our memory banks.
Some youngsters gave us something to cheer about in one of the county’s darkest hours.
Their actions won’t change what happened and we should never forget, but they did make us proud.
The all-stars are a shining example that there’s plenty of good here even when burned-out buildings say otherwise.