ALTHA, Fla. (WMBB)– A 12U team out of Altha won the 2020 Ponytails Traditional World Series on Tuesday.
The Dixie Youth season was impacted by COVID-19, however, athletes in Altha and its surrounding towns still hoped to play this summer.
“We had 12 girls say they wanted to play, so we was trying to do the best we could do to put a season together,” coach Chucky McCrone said.
A dozen players were all the team needed to compete. However, they were only able to play one regular-season game due to restrictions because of the virus.
Players said they were grateful parents and coaches were able to allow them to play.
“We haven’t been able to like hang out with each other or go places so for them to like let us play and stuff it actually means a lot to everybody,” player Chamiya Williams said.
Following the one regular-season game, the team set its sites on the World Series. Luckily for the team, a lot of players are familiar with each other as they have played alongside each other for years.
“When you grow up like playing the same sport together and like you bond and you get to know each other and it’s pretty awesome,” player Khloe Schamens said.
However, some new players, including Raylee McCrone and Hope Tanner learned the team’s style of play quickly.
The team said community members made it possible for them to go compete at the World Series in Oxford, Alabama.
“With everything that’s going on so many people unemployed even people that were unemployed did their parts in putting this thing together for us,” said coach William Neal.
“It was just exciting to go to the World Series because I’ve never been before and this was my last year playing Dixie League,” Hazel Martin.
Team Altha got off to a tough start, losing its first game of the World Series.
“Didn’t really lack our confidence just made us want to play even harder,” said player Maelee Hall.
“We all just fought together as a team,” player Carrington Scott said.
Although it was a win or go home situation for the team during the remainder of the tournament, the players never gave up.
“We played our hearts out, we put our hearts on the field, we left them there,” said player Abbigayle Pena.
They went on to win the next four games. Altha beat Taylor County, Georgia 12-0 to claim the World Series Championship on Tuesday.
“Us winning together is really exciting,” said player Amber Chambers.
Coach McCrone said it was the first time a Florida team won the title in 40 years.
“Awesome to get to be there and represent the state of Florida and our little town of Altha,” player Appalonia Neal said.
“It was really fun,” Madysin Beltram said.
The win was extra special for several players because it was their final time playing at the Dixie Youth level. Coach Dallas Hogans said this experience will help them as they transition to play on school teams.
“Gives them confidence to go ahead and never quit,” Hogans said.
Players that are aging out of the league hope the teammates they’re leaving behind will keep playing hard.
“Just keep getting better and practicing and hope you succeed in life,” player Tarrin McCrone said.
The community held a parade for the team in Altha on Friday night.