- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
As a group, the Halifax American Belles all-star team is a talented group of veteran Dixie softball players with a load of tournament experience, as evidenced by their dominant run through the district and state tournaments, where they outscored their opponents by a 90-5 margin.
In person, they’re one of the more confident teams you’ll meet, and judging by the all-star softball experience found throughout the roster, they appear set for a solid run at the Dixie Softball Belles World Series in South Hill, starting with a 10:30 a.m. game tomorrow against Tennessee.
“All the teams will be really good with good pitching,” said manager Woody Bane. “They’ve been through situations where they’ve had some success and that makes them tough, but the same thing holds true for us.
“All these girls have had success, whether it be in the successful middle school program or the ultra-successful high school program, and they’ve all played Dixie.”
“They are the best in their age group in the county,” added Bane.
“The main thing is they have fun when they play, and as long as they do that, we’ll be hard to beat in South Hill.”
His team’s confidence stems from the player’s familiarity with each other and their confidence in each other’s skills, Bane commented.
“When you see coaches who have put them in the right places, they know they’re going to be in places where they’ll have some success.”
Part of that success is the support and tutelage from parents as well as coaches, and a huge key to success in the World Series comes from playing so close to home in a familiar venue at South Hill.
“It’s close enough where we can spend the nights in our own beds if we wanted to, but, the exciting part is playing against 11 other teams and knowing how good they are, and finding out how well we need to play when we match up against them,” explained Bane.
This will be the sixth World Series for Meg Bane, but for a number of others, including Courtney Epps and Peyton Myers, it will be their first.
“I expect us to go up there and play hard, I know there will be some good teams, but if we work hard this week and get to where we need to be, we should win,” said Bane.
“We really didn’t know what to expect at the state tournament. We were all a little nervous, but we went up there and played hard.
“I expect all the teams to be tough at the World Series, they all won their state tournaments, so we need to go there and play hard.
Epps, a member of the Dixie program since the age of five, is excited over her first World Series.
“Even though it’s in South Hill, it’s an experience I’ll remember the rest of my life,” said Epps, who came up one game shy of a World Series as an Angels all-star.
“I’ve worked on my pitching a whole lot more. It just takes hard work to get there, and I’ve grown so much since then,” added Epps.
Myers also made it to the state championship game as an Angels all-star, and she said she was excited but also a little nervous as the first game nears.
“I have butterflies,” she admitted. “We all have one goal, and that was to go to the World Series and win. “It’s not just a couple of people working hard. We have good team chemistry, and we’ve played the game for a long time.
“We know what to expect from each other, and if one of us makes a mistake the others will pick us up.”