Two weekends ago the season was all but over for the 12-and-under Cottonwood Valley League All-Star softball team.
A fifth-place finish in the state tournament was seemingly the end of a hard-fought summer. When the teams that finished ahead of it had to decline an invitation to play in the regional tournament, the CVL squad accepted, relishing another week of play.
“Our thought was we’d go down and compete, get a little better,” coach Randy Savage said, “but the darn kids. Now we’re beating people that beat us at the state tournament, and beating the team that won the state championship to advance.”
The team finished second at the Potosi, Missouri, regional tournament and received an invitation to nationals in Alachua, Florida.
“Did we think we had a chance of doing it? No,” Savage said. “Did we discuss it? No.”
The team will head to Florida on Monday.
“We’ve told them we’re coming,” Savage said. “There’s a lot of support, and it’s being volunteered. That speaks volumes. We live in an awfully nice place. For all people like to complain about, when it comes time to do nice things, we step up.”
Savage said the girls were excited, even though it may be something they appreciate more when they get older.
Chisholm Waner of Marion and Dani Klein of Hillsboro are the team’s primary pitchers, but the team is composed of a lot of utility players who allow for lineup flexibility.
“To do what we did last weekend, if we’d had a weak link, we’d have stunk it up,” Savage said.
Savage said he and all the coaches “couldn’t be more proud” of the girls on the team.
“It’s fun to watch,” he said. “They’re growing up.”