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The Dirt Diamonds U-12 softball team capped its season with a solid finish in the USSSA World Series.
The area team, which included girls from Lancaster, Buford, Andrew Jackson, Pageland and Sumter County, finished seventh out of 66 teams in the elite tournament played at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.
“I was really proud of these girls,” said Dirt Diamonds coach Kevin Sims. “I tell them they’re a bunch of country girls, but they proved, as the old saying goes, they are pretty fare country ballplayers.”
The Dirt Diamonds, for the season, finished 51-16-2 with five titles, three runner-up finishes, two thirds and a fourth.
The Diamonds, an at-large entry into the World Series and the lone Palmetto State team, proved they belonged with a 3-0-1 record in pool play.
The unbeaten mark advanced the Dirt Diamonds to the double-elimination championship round.
The Diamonds topped the Connecticut Mirage, 3-2 on Gracie Revels’ walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh inning.
They followed with a 6-3 victory over the Middle Georgia Mayhem and an 11-0 win over the Chobee (Fla.) Firesticks.
The Redstick Softball 007 team downed the Dirt Diamonds, 7-4 for their first loss.
“We hung with that team pretty well, but they were the better team,” Sims said.
The Louisiana 007 team went on to win the World Series with a 10-0 record, including a 2-1 win over Kentucky Bat Cats.
The Dirt Diamonds’ three-run loss was the 007 team’s next closest game on the way to the crown.
The Dirt Diamonds rebounded with a 2-1 win over the Sarasota, Fla., Heat.
The Diamonds then faced the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Mustangs, who eliminated them, 11-9.
The Diamonds, who held a 6-0 lead in the game before dropping the two-run verdict, had defeated the Mustangs earlier in pool play.
“It just wasn’t our day,” Sims said. “We didn’t play our game and just had too many errors and mistakes. It was a tough way to lose, but we had a great run.
“It was a good time for these girls,” Sims said. “This is something these girls will always remember.”
The team’s 7-2-1 record for the tournament, included 60 runs scored to 31 allowed for 10 games.
Sims noted Haley Vincent and Sydney Sullivan handled the pitching duties.
He added the support for the team was outstanding.
“I know we had a lot of hits on the USSSA website as people followed us during the tournament,” he said. “I want to thank McLeod Farms of McBee, which was our major sponsor.
“Haile Gold Mine and S&S Decals also provided items for the gift swap with another tournament team while we were there.”
The team included Haley Vincent, Sydney Sullivan, Megan Phillips, Ashley Scott, Rylee Sims, Kinsley Adams, Cassidy McKittrick, Lexi Sullivan, Kaitlyn Holden, Raven Bennett, Hannah Vincent, Gracie Revels, McKayla Winburn and Chesnee Miller.
Sims is assisted by Scottie Miller, Brian Sullivan and Mark Winburn.
“This was an outstanding team and a banner season,” Sims said. “The best part is that these girls have bright futures ahead of them. They just have to keep playing and working hard.”