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file photo | Times-News GUNNING IT: Nine-year-old Chaaree Wiilliams throws a ball from the outfield durng a Valley 9 and 10-year-old all-star practice. The All-Stars recently won the district tournament in Talladaega. The win marked the first district championship for a Valley softball team in that age group.

Valley 9 and 10-year-old softball all-star season ends in state tournament

VALLEY — The season for the 9 and 10-year-old softball all-star team ended this past weekend in the state tournament after suffering a 5-4 loss to Winfield and a 6-4 loss to Meridianville this past Saturday night.

“It was [a] very competitive [tournament],” Valley 9 and 10-year-old softball all-star coach Dion Simpson said. “Our girls didn’t bow down, they played hard, they didn’t let the other girls intimidate them and on that first night, they showed me how much heart they had.”

On night one of the tournament, the team defeated Piedmont 6-2 in extra innings.

“Our defense was tremendous, especially in that first game,” Simpson said. “Our batting was not as good as it could’ve been better, but on the other hand, all of the games were pretty low-scoring so you could say that about the other teams as well. It was three hard-fought games- literally. I think the girls might have been worn down a little bit because they played three hard-fought games. I know it was a mental push for them because we haven’t had to play a close game throughout the district tournament.”

Simpson later said that a couple of the younger players on the team took the season-ending loss hard, but the coaching staff told the players not to worry about it for too long. 

“They had nothing to be ashamed about,” Simpson said. “They went out hard, played hard, just came up on the short end of it, keep working at it and if the girls needed any help from us to just reach out because we’ll always be there. When you’ve been with them for so long, even though I have a child playing [on the team], the rest of the kids start looking like my children, too. It’s like I’ve adopted 11 more.”

This year’s 9 and 10-year-old softball all-star group was the first in Valley’s history to win the district tournament. Head coach Josh Helleso has brought up the idea of keeping the team together by playing travel ball this fall, but it remains to be seen if the idea comes to fruition this early in the process, Simpson said.