tampabay.com

Gritty Pinecrest digs deep for softball title

By THOMAS SIMONETTI
Published June 25, 2005


The odds were stacked against them, but Pinecrest's 9- and 10-year-old softball all-stars came out on top.

Pinecrest beat Bloomingdale American 5-3 Friday to win the District 13 title despite having fewer players to pick from.

"This took a lot of practice and a lot of dedication," Pinecrest manager Faron Tidwell said. "When a girl goes down another one picks her up. We're a very small community and this team has become like a big family."

Pinecrest has only two minor softball teams and some of the girls were unable to play in all-stars because they were going out of town. Instead of selecting all-stars from a group of players, the team consists pretty much of those girls still hanging around.

Pinecrest lost its second game of the tournament to Bloomingdale American, but battled back with a win over East Point. Needing to beat Bloomingdale twice, Pinecrest pulled out a 6-5 win in seven innings Thursday before wrapping up the title with Friday's victory.

ON THE MOVE: The Wellswood Pony 13-year-old All-Stars are in a familiar place. The majority of the team, coached by Mike Johnson, is made up of players who beat Puerto Rico 8-0 in the Bronco division of the World Series a year ago.

"I've got six or seven kids who won the World Series in Monterrey, Calif., last year," Johnson said.

Wellswood plays Pembroke Pines today at noon in its first game of the state tournament. The team is coming off a win at the district championship at North Tampa Pony. Wellswood beat Town and Country 4-3 to advance to state.

Johnson said this team, led by standout James Ramsey, is a better hitting team than last season's Bronco team, but not as good defensively, especially in pitching.

Getting back to the World Series should prove a tougher task this year.

"All the teams here are pretty good," Johnson said.