Nothing says you’ve accomplished something big than being able to hold up a championship banner … and dump a little Gatorade on your head coach.
Oh, and silly string. Can’t forget the silly string.
That was the scene at Rodes Park in West Melbourne Sunday morning as the Viera Suntree Little League Majors All-Star softball team defeated Beachside 15-5 in four innings to capture the District 2 championship.
As a result of its three-game sweep, the VSLL will advance to the sectional round, which is set to begin next Saturday, also at Rodes Park.
After dominating the first two games of the best-of-five series by scores of 10-0 and 12-2, Viera Suntree found itself in an unfamiliar situation early on Sunday against Beachside.
Needing a win to extend the series, Beachside scored four runs in the top of the first inning to put the VSLL in a big hole to start off the game.
“That was the hardest that they had hit the ball,” VSLL manager Mike Worden said. “They came out swinging in that first inning.
“This team is very resilient. I asked them after the game how many of them were nervous after what happened in the first inning and they all raised their hands. I was just as nervous, but I know based on how this team has played throughout the year that four runs … they would be resilient enough to keep fighting.
“I was very happy with that, proud of them. And it’s one through 12. They were all ready.”
Viera Suntree’s comeback began in the bottom of the first inning as two runs scored on bases loaded walks and another on a wild pitch.
Beachside would add another run in the top of the second to make it a 5-3 game, but the VSLL got out of the inning on a great diving catch at shortstop by Addyson Maxwell.
The bottom of the frame saw Viera Suntree tie things up by drawing three straight two-out walks to load the bases, and then getting a two-run single by Selena Vega.
The game really turned in the bottom of the third when Viera Suntree scored nine runs. Lindsey Daly, Maxwell and Olivia Smith all had two-run singles in the inning. Ryleigh Hattrup also singled in a run. Evie Martin scored on a wild pitch.
Vega started the game on the mound for the first three innings for Viera Suntree. Kaitlyn Peedin came on in the fourth and retired the side in order.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Sara Fentress walked, moved to second and third on a pair of ground balls and then scored on a wild pitch to end the game by the 10-run rule.
Daly would finish the day with three hits. Fentress scored four runs. Vega, Maxwell, Smith and Hattrup obviously had key hits.
In addition to Maxwell’s big play at shortstop, the VSLL got a couple of strong defensive plays from Martin in center field and Valentinna Worden at first base.
Viera Suntree also got contributions throughout the tournament from Aleecia Johnson and Haley Rogers. The team was without two players --Molly Peters and Harlowe Doolittle – but they should get at least one (possibly both) back in time for sectionals.
“I’m very proud of this team,” Mike Worden said. “I’ve coached most of them for three-plus years, some of them for at least two. One player is new, but she fits well into this team.
“I’m blessed with great coaches … and a very supportive family atmosphere.”