- Last Updated on 07:18 AM 08/02/13
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
The Halifax National Angels X-Play all-stars are making their first World Series appearance starting Saturday in the Dixie Softball Angels X-Play World Series in Alexandria, Louisiana.
It’s also the first World Series for any of the coaching staff, including Manager Raymond Duffer, who thinks his battle-tested team is prepared for a solid run.
Halifax National had to get past archrival Halifax American in the district X-Play tournament before gaining the World Series berth with a solid run in the state tournament.
“We had some tough competition throughout the district and state playoffs,” said Duffer.
“The girls have worked hard, and they’ve worked together, and everybody has done their job,” he added.
Pitching, defense and timely hitting have been the keys to National’s success, according to Duffer.
“Gracie Wagstaff has been lights out on the mound for us, and that’s been one of the big keys,” he explained.
“We play well as a team, and in a couple of the games in the state tournament we got down but fought and kept plugging away and won the game.
“They played the same way when they were down as they did when they were ahead.”
Halifax National also has committed very few errors in tournament play, and Duffer noted he thought that was noteworthy for this particular age group.
“We’ve been hitting the ball from the top of the lineup to the bottom of the lineup,” Duffer added.
Keys to a good run in the World Series are consistent effort and pitching, and his team is blessed with at least five pitchers who can contribute, including Amanda Duffer and Autumn Younger, according to Duffer.
“Autumn stepped up big-time in the district championship game against Halifax American and pitched the entire game, and that was a key to the win,” he noted.
Halifax National is going to the Dixie Softball Angels X-Play World Series with large dose of momentum and confidence, Duffer explained.
“They’re just having a blast,” said Duffer, and “if pitching comes up for us, I think we’ll have a good run.
“We’ve got about five girls who can give us some innings, and that’s a key.
“Our defense is good, and our hitting is okay, and if we stay consistent, we’ll be all right.”
Duffer is looking for the same effort in the World Series that it put forth to win the state title.
“I told them we could win the state in three games and to give me all they’ve got for three games, and they did,” recalled Duffer.
“That’s one thing Kaitlyn Richardson said after the last game, we gave you three games.
“That’s all I can ask for.
“It’s been a lot of fun with this group of girls. They’ve meshed together better and quicker than I thought they would.”