The 12-and-under Cottonwood Valley League All-Stars softball team got a lesson at the Babe Ruth World Series in the meaning of the phrase, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”
While the CVL squad was winless in five pool play games July 31 to Aug. 2 in Florida, coach Randy Savage said they played the games well.
“We were extremely happy with how they played,” he said. “They have an idea of what they need to do better.”
As could be expected, the level of play was the highest they encountered this season, and the wrong time for the team’s bats to go silent.
“We had some balls hit hard, but the always seemet to be right at somebody,” Savage said. “I wish we hadn’t had that slump, but that’s the way baseball goes.”
Macy Sigel was an exception, batting .600 for the series. Mickelly Soyez hit .400, and Dani Klein hit .333.
While runs were hard to come by, Savage was pleasantly surprised by what he saw defensively.
“There were some things I’ve never seen us do before,” he said. “A left fielder runs down a hit while the shortstop gets in place for a cutoff, and our pitcher backing up the catcher — that’s the first time I’ve seen that this year.”
Savage said the exposure to high-caliber play showed the team what’s possible for 12-year-ols to do, and what they need to do to be successful at that level.
He said the tournament atmosphere was exhilarating.
“It was loud, the stands were full, and the fans were blaring,” Savage said. “There’s nothing to compare it to here. It was a like a state tournament on a massive amount of steroids.”
He commended the event staff, and noted at one point that his team tried to help the umpires learn a dance.
“I didn’t see anybody do anything but smiling,” Savage said. “It was fun.”
The girls also had fun doing things off the field. They visited museums, some stopped along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico on the way there, and some performed songs in the car.
“There was a copious amount of singing in my car,” he said. “I know the baby shark song really well now.”
No donation money was spent on the extra things they did, he said. All $11,000 of the donations the girls raised went to hotel rooms and tournament play.
Savage said he would like to take a team to experience something different and see the country every year.
“It was a hassle for the parents,” he said, “but it was worth every minute of sleep you don’t get.”