Six members of last year’s 11- and 12-year-old Little League Softball state champions got to enjoy hoisting a state trophy for the second straight summer.
The Russell-Flatwoods Junior League Softball All-Stars defeated Leslie County, 11-1, in London to become state titleholders. They advance to the Junior League Central Region Tournament in Akron, Ohio, which is set for Aug. 3-7 at Firestone Stadium.
Because of several teams dropping out, Russell and Leslie County were the only two teams competing in the state tournament. Russell won 8-0 on Saturday before Sunday’s 10-run victory.
Alexis Maynard continued her superb state play with a four-hitter from the circle. She struck out 13 of the 29 batters she faced, walking three.
She and Sara Hieneman combined for 29 strikeouts, five hits allowed and five free passes in the two days.
Caitie Gullett and Ali Hartman each went 2-for-3 with three RBIs to lead the offense on Sunday. In all, the All-Stars had 14 hits.
Grace Hall and Annalee Miller also chipped in a pair of base hits apiece.
Hannah Blaine and Breanna Craft each came off the bench to contribute. Blaine had a sacrifice hit and Craft a run-scoring single.
Coach Rod Hieneman called the pitching, hitting and error-free defense a “perfect storm.”
Sara Hieneman saved a run in the third inning with a stab of a sharp liner between first and second bases. Lexie Hester made a nice catch in right field for the final out.
Leslie County scored its only run via a home run by Morgan Pugh to lead off the game.
Rod Hieneman gave a great deal of credit to manager Kendra Holmes for her dedication in accomplishing back-to-back state championships.
“Russell-Flatwoods hadn’t had a Junior League team for four years. (Holmes’s) vision was that we try to get this going again for those girls to have the opportunity to do this,” Hieneman said. “She’s a hard worker, gives 125 percent to these girls.”
R-FLATWOODS 023 500 1 — 11 14 0
LESLIE CO. 100 000 0 — 1 4 2