E.A. Sports Today

Ward 10 winners

With the Belles and Ponytails X-Play winning titles, Louisiana league becomes second program in history to win three crowns in same Dixie Softball World Series 

Ward 10 Dixie Softball League president and coach Gordon Frye embraces his Ponytail X-Play players after they won their Dixie Softball World Series title Tuesday.

By Al Muskewitz/East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – When Gordon Frye became president of the Ward 10 (La.) Dixie Softball League five years ago he brought along a 10-point bucket list of things he’d like to accomplish before his term ended.

He came oh-so-close to scratching No. 9 off the list — getting an unprecedented four champions in the World Series — like, twice three-outs-away close — but vowed without hesitation after the last result was logged “we’ll be back” next year to give it another try.

Tioga teams won World Series crowns in Belles and Ponytails X-Play (Frye’s team) Tuesday at Choccolocco Park to go with the SweeTees title they won the day before. They’re only the second league to win three division titles at a single World Series in the history of the event.

The Belles ended a dominant week by blanking Wayne County, Tenn., 10-0. The Ponytail X-Players beat Hatley, Miss., 7-3, after scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth to edge Around The Lake, Fla, 2-1, in the first game of the three-team championship round.

The Angels team was denied the 4-for-4 sweep when Wayne County, Tenn., rallied with seven runs in their last bats to win the first championship game, 9-5, and then scored four in the bottom of the fifth of the “if” game that became necessary to win it all 8-7.

“To me it’s going to probably mean more than anything that’s ever meant to me because these girls fought and my parents fought so hard to keep this league going when everybody else wanted to shut us down,” Frye said at a time the Angels were winning 7-4 in the fourth inning of their game on the other side of the complex. “My parents were reluctant, but they fought and fought so for us to (have the prospect to) bring all four of them back it’s a dream come true.”

The Ponytail X-Play team had to play its way into the championship game and was down to its last bats against Around The Lake, a team it split with in two previous meetings. Peyton Kirtland opened the rally with a leadoff walk. She scored when the Floridians misplayed Ava Malcolm’s bunt and Malcolm scored the winning run from third on Briley Byrnes’ bunt.

Kirtland pitched the team to victory in the championship game. She had a two-hitter through the first four innings before Hatley scored three in the fifth. By then, however, Ward 10 had a 6-0 lead.

Byrnes gave Ward 10 a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the third. It broke the game open with five in the fourth. Shyann Ramos got it started with an RBI double followed by run-scoring singles by Emma Futrell, Olivia Edwards, Mayghan Brown and Malcolm.

“It’s incredible,” Frye said. “These girls have worked very hard. They only had one week to prepare for this and for them to come out here and play like they just played, you couldn’t ask for anything more as a coach – or a president of the league.”

The Ward 10 Belles mob Aspen Renfrow on the base paths after she delivered the walkoff hit that capped their 10-0 championship game win over Wayne County, Tenn.

Belles of the Ballpark

The players on the Ward 10 Belles felt they had an opportunity denied in South Carolina a couple years ago. They weren’t going to let that happen again.

The Belles used explosive hitting and crafty pitching to post a 10-0 shutout of Wayne County, Tenn., for the league’s first World Series title of the day and second in three days.

“We’ve been in this same position a couple times, this same group of girls, and they came out and battled and they wanted it more anybody else here,” coach John Troquille said. “My pitching was great. My bats were on fire all weekend.”

They came into the tournament with a goal of scoring 50 runs. They hit it on the nose, outscoring their five opponents 50-10.

They pounded 11 hits in the championship game. Abbi Troquille (three doubles) and Anya Brown both had three hits and scored three runs. Zoe Roland reached base all three times she batted. The first four hitters in their line combined for nine hits and nine runs.

Roland, a veteran Ward 10 pitcher, and Kaitlyn Roberts, the youngest player on the team, combined on the shutout. Roland pitched the first two innings and sixth, while Roberts took care of everything in between. 

“I thought I pitched well,” Roland said. “I didn’t give up any big hits. I kept the ball on the ground. I did what I needed to do. I came here wanting to win and I knew I had to work hard to win.”

“I just wanted to come in and shut it down and do my best to help the team,” Roberts said. “If they hit the ball, they hit the ball, but we have good fielders and I can depend on them to make the plays.”

Shortstop Gracie Pettway kept the shutout alive when she cut down a runner at the plate in the fifth.

Christina Lambert would have been the ace on the staff, but suffered a devastating knee injury that kept her off the field. Troquille made her the pitching coach and shared her expertise with the staff of four.

“I think they did awesome,” Lambert said. “It makes me very happy because we’ve been looking forward to something like this for a long time.”

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