DENTSVILLE — With a shot to attend the Dixie World Series and the 2010 Dixie Darlings state title on the line, the Union Dixie Darlings put up a fight last Thursday in Dentsville.
Unfortunately, Union’s foe — Turbeville — was on the warpath after losing 20-9 in just four innings on Wednesday to the same opponent they were facing in the state championship game.
That would turn out to be Turbeville’s only loss of the tournament as it went on to defeat the Darlings from Union 20-16 and claim the privilege of attending the Dixie Darlings World Series next month.
Union head coach Stacy Kicidis called the loss “painstaking” to her team but said her kids played like pros.
“They knew the chance to advance to the World Series was at stake and they did not give up without a fight,” Kicidis said. “They made some great plays on defense and demonstrated what they had learned in practice. The coaches were so proud of them for not giving up and narrowing the gap between them and Turbeville.”
The coach said her team got off to a rocky start.
Union trailed Turbeville 13-0 in the first two innings of the championship game.
“Then, we battled back to tie the score 13-13 by the third inning,” Kicidis said.
The Union team was hitting the ball, but not at the most opportune times, according to Kicidis.
“We had Bailey Betenbaugh and Destiny Means who knocked out-of-the-park home runs in the fourth and fifth innings but no one was on base either time,” the coach said.
Turbeville led 20-14 going into the bottom of the fifth and it looked like it would seal the deal with two quick outs but Means hit her solo home run to give the Union team one more run before its opponent could secure the third and final out of the frame and of the state tournament.
Kailee Stepp, Betenbaugh, Addy Ferrell, Means, Courtney Seymore and Lindsay Young each went 3-for-3 at the plate Thursday night. Caeli Kearse was 2-for-3 and Kristin Kicidis was 2-for-3 with two RBI. Hannah Gilliam had three RBI.
Despite the heartbreaking loss in the final game of the state tournament, Kicidis is proud of her team and knows the kids will help Union teams advance in the future.
“This little All-Star team is very competitive and not accustomed to having to fight our way back from behind,” Kicidis said. “We were unable to clinch the state championship title but it is quite an accomplishment to win first-runner up. Nine of the 12 girls will move up to the Angels Division next year so I’m sure Union will see more great things to come from these talented little ball players.”