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South’s Minor Girls Come Home Champions

The world’s best 16 Little League Baseball teams are enjoying the fulfillment of a common dream shared by all regardless of geographic location — they’ve made it to Williamsport. While their arrival has been much heralded and documented, for a group of softball-playing young ladies — they had to leave the South Williamsport site of

The world’s best 16 Little League Baseball teams are enjoying the fulfillment of a common dream shared by all regardless of geographic location — they’ve made it to Williamsport. While their arrival has been much heralded and documented, for a group of softball-playing young ladies — they had to leave the South Williamsport site of the annual World Series to establish their own championship identity as Eastern Region 8-10 Minor League Softball champions.

Although Little League International’s tournament structure for the 8-10 Minor Softball Division concludes at the Regional level, the South Siders’ manager, Fred McLaughlin, is every bit as proud of his team’s accomplishments as the coaching staffs who are visiting our community this week for the Little League World Series.

He has every reason to do so as South Williamsport’s Little Mountaineer Little League was comprised of two Major Division softball teams leaving a small pool of players from which to choose from come tournament time.

“From those two Major Division teams, age-wise we selected our players, which included two players who played the regular season in the Minor Softball Division,” McLaughlin explained. “The reaction we’ve received during our tournament experience was very positive. Everyone was very supportive. We received a lot of sponsorship help that was needed that certainly helped with the travel costs involved. Our tournaments were played in Minersville, Fleetville, and Pittston.”

Along the tournament trail, the team played 20 games, ending up with a record of 19-1 with the loss being 1-0 to Back Mountain in the ‘if game’ of the state tournament, a team that had beaten them 3-0 earlier in the tournament. The South young ladies avenged that loss by coming back to beat them 1-0 to win the state title.

“It was a lot of fun,” McLaughlin added. “All the girls got along extremely well together. You could just see the bond that developed, even among the parents. We all hung out together and went out to dinner together. Even though the girls were not together in one big group all the time, they would just switch from group to group and have fun together. It was an awesome experience for everyone that was involved with the team.

“I started coaching with my daughter in tee ball five years ago. I have an older son that I coached quite a few years ago, but softball is relatively new to me. I can say this; softball is totally a different animal than baseball. Dealing with girls at this age is a lot different than dealing with the boys I coached.”

Asked about the famous Tom Hanks “There’s no crying in baseball,” line in the movie “A League of Their Own,” McLaughlin confessed that wasn’t always true in softball.

“There was some, but really overall not much. We tried to keep everything very positive. We never yelled at the girls and gave them positive encouragement. If they did get themselves upset, we told them to forget about it and move on to the next play.”

Assisting McLaughlin with the coaching duties were Scott Clark and Chris Schuler. Clark coached with McLaughlin during the regular season. Schuler has a wealth of knowledge about softball and was instrumental in a lot of the practice drills and setting the tone for getting the girls ready as the team moved up the ladder.

“It was really important to me to watch the girls grow together as a team,” McLaughlin stressed. “Most of the girls were on my regular season team, and most of them do a lot of different sports. They are involved with travel soccer and softball. So for us to get the girls from my team together with the other major division girls, and the two players from the minor division was tough at the beginning. When we started, we held two practices a day, but by the time the district tournament started, they were playing together like one big unit. It was really awesome to see that.”
Asked about the level of competition they encountered, McLaughlin said it got tougher with each level they played.

“We expected our district would really be tough to get out of, but what we found was that the pitching was not as good as expected, and we won our games pretty handily. At the sectional tournament that all changed. We played some very good teams in Minersville. Troy and Mifflinburg had strong teams. In the state tournament, Back Mountain was solid, and they were the only team to beat us.

“The Regional Tournament featured the state champions from 11 states, and they all had good teams. We won the Mid-Atlantic bracket beating New Jersey, and then we played Maine and beat them 3-0 before beating New Jersey again 7-2 to win the tournament. It just seemed like all our girls had a different time to shine. They didn’t shine at the same time, but each had a moment when they stepped up to help the team.”

With a lot of local high school teams fielding exceptional teams McLaughlin responded positively when asked about a bright future for South Williamsport softball.

“Absolutely, I think so. As long as we can keep everybody together, I think it would be awesome to see where we can go with it in the future.”

Members of South Williamsport’s 8-10 Minor League Softball Eastern Regional Champions include Danica Bacorn, Natalya Betz, Kendall Cardone, Lynna Clark, Makaiya Hills, Addy Kreitz, Emma McLaughlin, Mia McNaul, Madeline Pinkerton, Alizabeth Schuler and Julia Stamm.

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