By Kyle Roberts
The SweeTees are off to the World Series.
Ruston Dixie Softball 6U SweeTees squad has advanced the All-Star Series Sunday after winning four straight and coming back from losing their first (and only) game over the weekend on Friday at the Ward 10 Softball Complex in Alexandria, La.
It took extra innings in the final game of the All-star Series against powerhouse Minden, but the SweeTees held off their opponents for a final score of 19-16 and will keep their season alive.
“This was like the movie ‘The Little Giants’,” SweeTees coach Travis Whitehead said. “These girls have really proven themselves and made great improvements from when we had previously played Minden (during district play). The Minden coach came up to me after the game and said that the team that showed up today was not the same team they had seen when we played before.
“They have sweated and done everything they can to succeed. And the coaches have contributed a lot to these girls. It was really awesome.”
After losing the East Ouachita Friday, the SweeTees had to finish out with wins across the board to advance.
“That was a close loss,” Whitehead said. “Our coaches got together in the lobby Friday night and talked until 1 a.m. in the morning to figure out something. Usually, the first game was to get the kids prepared. We went through every scenario that we could possibly think of to prepare for, and we came up with our plan.”
They started with a 20-7 win over West Monroe on Saturday, and then beat East Ouachita 17-4 to advance to play Minden on Sunday.
“The girls really appreciated those two wins on Saturday,” Whitehead said. “The coaches, we got together and said that we weren’t going to try to do anything different– what we were doing was working. They showed up and showed out. The bats were hot and they were feeding off each other. The energy and drive they had was incredible.”
The SweeTees then won their first game against Minden on Sunday 14-8 before getting the extra innings win in the second game.
Minden won both coin tosses and chose to be the home team, meaning the SweeTees twice had to hold off the offense in the bottom of the final innings to take home the championship and advance to the World Series, which will be played in late July.
Annastyn Whitehead finished the weekend with a home run, four triples and multiple doubles and singles, while Mary Lyla Buck finished with three home runs, a triple and multiple doubles and singles.
Caitlyn Cato served as a solid presence on the mound before Callie Hoefler came in late in the second game against Minden to help fend off a rally at the end.
Grayson Lantrip had a hit nearly every at bat.
“I was very proud,” Whitehead said. “All the girls did really well.”
The full SweeTees roster:
Mary Lyla Buck
Ella Rose Kavalir