SEMINOLE - For the city of Seminole, one Little League softball team winning districts wasn’t enough. Two was too few. Three? Just right.
Seminole minor, major and junior softball teams won their district championships this past week, which put them in contention for Section 7 championships, the next stage in the tournament.
“For all three teams to win the district, that is big,” said Jane DeKorte, the player agent for Seminole Little League softball. “I don’t think it has happened in a long time, just a rare occurrence.”
The major and minor teams, both led by Coach Patty Sittloh, breezed through their district games, most ending due to the 10-run rule. The juniors strolled through their district games, resulting in scores such as 14-2, 11-0, and 8-2.
“We were pretty much expected to win,” said Chris McKenna, coach for the juniors. “We have a great group of girls this year and most have played in the state tournament before so they have all been there. Camille Morgan pitched a no-hitter. She had a great defense behind her. They only let four runs score in four games. That’s incredible.”
Unfortunately, the Section 7 double elimination tournament, held at Cross Bayou, presented obstacles to these seasoned district champions. The major team won their first section game on Friday beating Safety Harbor. Their 6-3 loss to Dunnellon on a rainy Sunday afternoon put them in the loser’s bracket, where they were expected to play on Monday for a chance to compete in the Section 7 final on Tuesday.
“For both teams, the pitching was great,” said Sittloh. “We had some good defensive plays but it was the hitting that affected us. That is what hurt both teams. My majors played well but Dunnellon was just really good. We think we can come back and beat them again.”
Shortstop Amanda Nette, pitcher Emily Crawford and catcher Katie Sulpice combined to form a strong defense and offense for the majors.
On Monday, the majors lost to West Tampa/ Bayshore 14-3, which knocked them out of the tournament.
The minor team lost to East Lake 14-1 on Saturday and lost again to Dunnellon 13-9 on Sunday, eliminating them from the tournament. According to Sittloh, both pitchers, Jenny Sittloh and Hayley Ledford, led the team. With help from catcher Megan Eppes, the three “kept the team together.”
The juniors, led by McKenna and two other coaches, John Belvedere and Dave Barshel, fell short of competing in the section finals, losing to West Pasco 8-7 on Friday, beating Citrus Park/Keystone 12-2 on Saturday and losing again to West Pasco 5-4 on Sunday.
“We were a much better team,” said McKenna. “The game was unbelievable. We beat ourselves with a couple of errors. It was ugly.”
Regardless of their tournament runs, the three teams have much to boast about their regular season records.
“This is a really great group of girls,” said Sittloh. “Both the majors and minors only lost one game all season and they swept the districts.”
“Actually, out of 22 games, we only lost two of them,” said McKenna. “We 10-run ruled most games. They are a great group of ball players.”