Vidalia All-Stars prepare for statePublished 12:01am Thursday, June 14, 2012
VIDALIA — Making the state tournament is literally a given for the Vidalia Little League Softball 7- and 8-year-old All-Stars.
Since the 7s and 8s are the only team in Louisiana Little League District 5, the girls have an automatic bid into the state tournament in Ruston, La., July 13-16.
The downside to that is that the girls won’t have much in the way of game experience when they head to Ruston later this summer, coach Mike Bowlin said.
“We’ll go five weeks without playing anyone,” Bowlin said. “We’re hoping to play Jonesville and Winnsboro. I’ve coached the team for the last three year, and this is the strongest team we’ve had.”
Bowlin said the players’ combination of speed and power is what causes him to give his girls such high praise.
“We’ve got a group of kids who love to practice and get better in practice, so we’re going to be just fine come July 13.”
Practices are centered around learning the basic fundamentals of softball, Bowlin said.
“The main thing is making sure they know to get an out,” he said. “They all want to stop a runner from scoring, but you want to minimize damage during innings. Anyone can score, but you win games at this age with defense. I’d much rather trade a run for an out.”
Bowlin also said he’s teaching his players the proper technique to use when catching fly balls.
“They all have problems at this age with fly balls, so we’re teaching them the proper form,” Bowlin said.
Eight-year-old Makayla Morace said she enjoys learning the game from Bowlin, and she said he offers a lot of insights about softball.
“He moves you around a lot (on defense) because he feels like you have to be in one particular area to catch it,” Morace said.
“He’s also teaching us how to bat good, because some of us didn’t know how to bat as well at the start of the year.”
Casey LaRue, 9, also said she enjoys working with Bowlin.
“It’s fun. He tries to teach us a new thing every day, like bunting,” LaRue said.
LaRue also said she’s excited about getting to compete in the state tournament in July.
“We’re feeling good about it, and we’re hoping to bring the trophy home to Vidalia,” she said.
To help raise money for the team, the 7s and 8s are hosting a flea market from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot in front of Vidalia Market. Renting a booth is $50, which goes toward the team. Vendors can keep the proceeds on any items sold.
For more information on the flea market, call Kim Bowlin at 318-650-0667.