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Palma Ceia/Tampa Bay/Interbay majors will represent the state in the Little League Southern Regional softball tournament beginning today in Gulfport.
The team returns six players from last season's 10-11 state championship team and five from the Little League state runnerup team in 2006.
Manager Lee Pitisci said the team is looking forward to this tournament to play the out-of-state competition. According to Pitisci, he plans to focus as much energy as possible into making sure his team is prepared and ensuring players understand the opportunity involved.
"These girls will remember this for the rest of their lives," Pitisci said. "You really only get one or two shots like this in your whole life. Maybe not even one."
The eight-team tournament begins today at 10 a.m., with PC/TB/IB playing Franklin, N.C., at 4 p.m.
The five-day tournament consists of eight state champions from the South. The teams are split into two pools of four, with each team playing the other three in its pool and the top two teams from each pool advancing to the semifinals.
The winner advances to the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Ore.
Morristown, Tenn., won the tournament in 2006 and made it to the World Series semifinals, where the team was defeated 5-1 by the tournament runnerup Pequannock, N.J.
Little League Softball Southern Regional
Where: Arnold S. White Stadium, 658 58th St. S., Gulfport
Directions from Tampa: Head south on I-275 toward St. Petersburg. Take 5th Ave. N. exit and at the end of the ramp turn right (west). Follow 5th Ave. to 58th St. and turn left (south). Continue on 58th St. to 7th Ave. S. The stadium is on the left just past the Royal Palms Cemetery. Parking is available in Boca Ciega High School parking lot.
Palma Ceia/Tampa Bay/Interbay (Florida)
Franklin (North Carolina)
Barboursville (West Virginia)
Oconee County American/National (Georgia)
Morristown American/National (Tennessee)
Simpsonville (South Carolina)
Today: Virginia vs. West Virginia, 10 a.m.; South Carolina vs. Tennessee, 1 p.m.; PC/TB/IB vs. North Carolina, 4 p.m.; Alabama vs. Georgia, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Alabama vs. Tennessee, 10 a.m.; North Carolina vs. Virginia, 1 p.m.; PC/TB/IB vs. West Virginia, 4 p.m.; Georgia vs. South Carolina, 7 p.m.
Sunday: North Carolina vs. West Virginia, noon; Alabama vs. South Carolina, 2:30 p.m.; Georgia vs. Tennessee, 5 p.m.; PC/TB/IB vs. Virginia, 7:30 p.m.
Monday: Consolation games, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Semifinals, 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.