World Series berth landmark achievement

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The MCYBSL 12U All-Stars received a berth to the Babe Ruth World Series, beginning August 4 in Alachua, Fla. Front row from left, Head coach Danny Hollingsworth, KiAnna Holder, Courtney Edde, Halle Chapman, Jordan Yelensky, Leah Hollingsworth, Hannah Singleton and assistant coach Jackie Chapman. Back row from left, Assistant coach Brian Edde, Blair Richards, Autumn Kelly, Aliyah Holder, Samantha King, Carson Warner, Jasmine Runk, and assistant coach Dwayne Singleton. Team photo submitted/Action photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Marshall County Youth Baseball and Softball League's 12U All-Star softball team will make a historic trip this summer when they begin play in the Babe Ruth World Series on August 4 in Alachua, Fla.

"I am very proud for Marshall County and the state of Tennessee that we are going, I really am," said head coach Danny Hollingsworth. "We are going to go down there and we will do our level best to make Marshall County and the state of Tennessee proud of us."

The All-Star team received a berth in the big show when it was announced earlier this year by the Babe Ruth League national headquarters that all state tournament winners will automatically be included in the World Series.

Jordan Yelensky (24) winds up in the circle for a strikeout at the USGF State Tournament in Columbia.

"This is something I have always dreamed of doing, especially under the circumstances with Little League and Babe Ruth where you have to win your way there instead of going to one of these tournaments where you pay five hundred dollars to play in," said Hollingsworth.

The MYCBSL team invited all other 12U teams in the state to participate in a state tournament and all declined, giving State Commissioner Roger Giles the authority to invite the Marshall County squad to play in the World Series.

"It means a lot more when you win something to get there," said Hollingsworth. "Although we didn't get to play a state tournament this year, we were willing to play, ready to play and we have won it with these girls the last five years, so I had no doubt we would have won the state tournament and gone anyway."

Samantha King (16) bashes an RBI double at the USGF State Tournament Saturday in Columbia.

The Hollingsworth coached squad will become the first Marshall County girls' team to ever appear in a World Series and the road has been a long one and for the hard working, well deserved group.

The core group of the squad has been together for five years and has been through the grind of almost every major test, including Babe Ruth Southeast Regional Tournament appearances in the 8U division in 2008 at North Carolina, in the 10U division at Varina, Virginia in 2009 and at Altamonte Springs, Fla. in 2010 where they lost 11-3 in the title game to Pitt County, N.C.

Last season in the Southeast Regional Tournament held at the Richard Cashion Sports Complex in Lewisburg, Pitt County got the best of the local girls once again when they beat Hollingsworth's squad 11-0 in the 12U semifinals.

Leah Hollingsworth (18) singles to right field for the Marshall County 12U All-Stars at Ridley Park in Columbia.

This a team that is not afraid to play and Hollingsworth has taken the group on the road as a summer travel squad, playing at all ends of the state of Tennessee and beyond over the past five years with the most recent trip ending with a United Southern Girls Fastpitch (USGF) State Tournament title this weekend at Ridley Park in Columbia where they went undefeated.

"I guess you could say, we have been playing the last five years to get there, we have earned it and our state commissioner has seen that and that is why he has sent us to the World Series as our state representative," said Hollingsworth.

After a week off, the girls go back on the road where they will take part in the USGF World Series, beginning on July 17 at Pringles Park in Jackson.

Hollingsworth said, "It costs our all-star family a lot of money when we go to these tournaments to get ready to go to the World Series to represent Marshall County and we hope people in Marshall County appreciate that, back these kids, and help us with some fund raising."

"We are going to send these kids down there in style, we have already bought them all matching helmets and matching bags as kind of gifts to the girls for hanging in there the last five years and doing that tournament trail," added Hollingsworth.

The team will do fundraising over the next few weeks by appearing on WJJM radio, WAXO television, selling Sonic gift cards and other activities.

Hollingsworth has also secured several corporate sponsors and is looking for more to offset the costs of the historic trip.

Then it will off to Florida and the Babe Ruth World Series for the twelve-girl squad that includes Leah Hollingsworth, Jordan Yelensky, Blair Richards, Samantha King, Jasmine Runk, Carson Warner, Halle Chapman, KiAnna Holder, Courtney Edde, Aliyah Holder, Autumn Kelly, and Hannah Singleton.

Assistant coaches for the team are Jackie Chapman, Dwayne Singleton and Brian Edde.