Pollitte sees BLL softball as a success
According to Brewton Little League softball coach Todd Pollitte, the first season of Little League Girl’s Softball has set a precedence of what will be expected in the years to come.
Pollitte, who coached as a regular season coach for Brewton also coached the first ever All Star team for the league.
Pollitte said most of all, the league’s season and all stars could not have happened without the sacrifices and support of the player’s and parents.
“With the help, support, and guidance from the City, Roger Chapman (Parks and Recreation), YMCA, the Little League Board, Chip Peach, and all the other supporters, we have managed to install a program in the City of Brewton that will not only benefit the girl’s high school softball program, but, will provide for each young player the opportunity to advance, mature, and excel in not only the sport of softball, but will give them the confidence to continue in any sport they choose.” Pollitte said. “This will give the girls a chance to keep playing through high school, and for some, possibly secure a college scholarship.”
Pollitte said he could not say enough about the girl’s will and determination to play.
“From the start of the season, to the end of tournament play, the player’s gave everything they had, and then some,” Pollitte said. “The sacrifices that the player’s and parent’s made from the start of season, to the two-a day, six-seven days a week practices for the 11-12 all-stars. Most parents and player’s gave up their spring break and summer vacations, so they could practice. And, yes, the coaches played a big role in teaching and guiding the player’s. I considered it a privilege and honor to be part of a program that represented Brewton and made history. I hope the coaches made a positive impact on all of the player’s.”
Pollitte said the team and the league had their hurdles to jump from the start, but found a way to overcome most of them.
“Coaches and player’s both, had to learn the rules together,” Pollitte said. “As expected, our pitching started out a little on the wild side, due to this being their first experience at player fast-pitch, but, once the season settled in, the pitching began to come together. Toward the end of the season, we started to see low scoring games, like 4-3, 5-4, 8-7, instead of high scores like, 30-18, 20-18, 27-21. We also had player’s that had never stepped into a batter’s box, and by the season’s end, one of them became the best power hitter in the league.”
Pollitte said they were given permission to field an all-star team, and participate in post-season tournament play along with being invited to play in the State Tournament in Phenix City, and Escambia County (East Brewton/Flomaton).
“We chose to take the maximum number of player’s, (14), in order to give as many player’s as we could the opportunity to get more playing skills through extra practices and games,” Pollitte said. “Depending on what happens next year, this could be the last opportunity for some of the player’s that would be to old to play in the 11- and 12-year-old division, to get the skills and knowledge to be able to try out for the JV high school team.”
The team’s first game in the tournament was against host, Phenix City.
Pollitte said his player’s were in shock from the start, and they got beat (18-2.)
“A big eye opener,” Pollitte said. “Our team thought we were there on vacation. The following morning I called an unscheduled practice to get the player’s focused to let them know that they are a competitive team and that they are capable of competing with the other teams, and that they are not on vacation. That night we played Escambia County (East Brewton/Flomaton), and lost 16-6. Every player gave their best. Had it not been for a couple of mistakes, the outcome might have been different.”
Although the team went 0-2, Pollitte said they gained valuable experience and knowledge of what it was like to compete at the State Level.
“Unfortunately our two game’s were against the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the State tournament,” Pollitte said. “Had we had the chance to play the other teams, I believe we would have won one or two game’s. The Escambia Co. coaches made the comment that we were the fourth, if not the third best team in the state tournament, even though this was our first year. And that said a lot, considering they came in second place in the state.”
Pollitte said every player brought something to the plate, hitting, pitching, catching, fielding, base running, and most of all, the will and heart to play the game.
“I can’t help but mention our unsung hero, Molly Jackson, our catcher, who day in and day out stayed behind the plate, and chased ball after ball, and still asked for more,” Pollitte said. “Then you have the most consistent pitcher of the league, Lizzy Pollitte, who game after game stepped in and did her best after going 9-2 in regular season, delivered the best pitching performance of her career during the second game of the tournament. And the other pitcher, Courtney Linsenby, who came in and pitched her best game in the first tournament game. We also had relief pitchers who will only get more accurate and better with time, in Jessica Day and Taylor Austin, with Day being the most brilliant in her bunting and base running abilities, and Austin having a great fielding glove.”
Pollitte said Brittany Warren and Amelia Peach clamped down on first base, and made spectacular catches, with Warren showing her batting and base running skills throughout the tournament.
“Erin Wade and Heather Spinks held down second base and kept hits to a minimum with awesome field play, and Spinks being our best contact batter,” Pollitte said. “Kassie King and Leslie Holmes made the batter’s afraid to hit the ball to short stop, in fear of being thrown out or getting into double play’s, with Holmes having one of the best bat’s, with bunting or hitting. And then we had Shanika Tinker, not only had the best arm, were our most feared power hitter, with four homeruns during regular season, who played centerfield. And Laci Campbell in left field, who could also catch and throw the ball to home plate in one motion. Then we had Natalie Clayton, who not only had one of the best bat’s on the team, but, proved to be the one with the most heart and determination.”
All in all, Pollitte said he could not ask for a more determined group of players than what he had.
“Without question they sacrificed and learned the game of softball,” Pollitte said. Through practice we got bruises, scrapes, cuts, broken bones, and even free tattoos on our foreheads from pop flies. But that didn’t stop them from wanting to play the game, and perform when asked too. This group of player’s will go down in Brewton’s history, for being the first group of girls little league softball players to compete at state level and represent the city of Brewton.”
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