Dudley Little League 12U softball state bound for first time since 2013
DUDLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Dudley Little League 12U softball team will represent District 5 in the state tournament this weekend.
“It’s been a really long time since any girls have done this,” says Emily Brown, the team’s catcher.
It’s been five years to be exact.
In case you’ve forgotten, that’s a long time for a 12-year-old!
“I remember that team,” says Shannon Canady, the team’s head coach. “A lot of them are seniors now.”
The 2018 team has overcome plenty on their run to state–even a sudden summer storm the day we shot this story that moved their practice from the diamond to the grass.
“It’s just the whole Little League experience that’s really brought this team together,” Canady says.
Their District 5 championship last week was no walk in the park.
“We had kind of struggled a little bit,” says Madison Cheek, one of the team’s pitchers. “But we kind of came back through.”
“We lost out first game, had to battle back through the loser’s bracket and face a tough Vine Ingle team,” Canady says.
That Vine Ingle team was unbeaten in the tournament, but Dudley won Game 1, 2-1, to set up a winner-take-all matchup.
“We were thinking that we got this,” says Allie Mathis, the team’s second baseman. “We’ve done it one time, and we can do it again.”
Canady’s wife Krystal, an assistant coach, says she can be heard screaming from the dugout each time the girls play.
“I told them to keep their heads up, that they were great players no matter what they done.”
The girls overcame two lightning delays and an extra inning the next night and won 5-2 to take the title.
“We were just like so mad that we had to like sit out there in the cars the whole time,” Brown says. “We just went out there and we just had the mindset that we were going to win, so we won.”
Now they have a chance to win Dudley’s first state championship.
That 2013 team made it to the title game but fell short in extra innings.
“They represented Dudley well in 2013,” Canady says. “We hope to continue that in 2018.”
The 2013 12U team was Dudley’s first, and this year’s team is Dudley’s second. That’s right–they’re two for two in sending 12U teams to state.
The tournament starts this weekend in Bartow County.